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QUIET HOURS 
WITH NATURE 



For all Lovers of Natural History. 



Bird Life in Wild Wales. 

ByJ.A. WALPOLE-BOND. 

Illustrated from Photographs by 
OLIVER G. PIKE. 

Crown 8vo, cloth, 7s. 6d. 

Nature's Story of the Year. 

By CHARLES A. WITCH ELL. 
Fully Illustrated. Crown 8vo, cloth, 5$. 

THE "BRIGHTWEN" SERIES. 

Illustrated. Crown 8vo, Cloth, 2s. 

1. Wild Nature won by Kindness. 

2. More about Wild Nature. 

3. Inmates of my House and Garden. 

4. Glimpses into Plant Life : An Easy Guide 

to the Study of Botany. 

By Mrs. BR1GHTWEX. 

5. In Birdland with Field-Glass and Camera. 

By OLIVER G. PIKE. 



LONDON: T. FISHER UNWIN. 




VIEW AT THE C.ROVE. 



QUIET HOURS 
WITH NATURE 

BY 

MRS. BRIGHTWEN, F.Z.S., F.E.S. 



I'icf-Prcsidfiit of the Sellwrnr Society. 



ILLUSTRATED BY THEO. CARRERAS 




Here all is quiet, but for faint sounds made 
By the wood creatures wild and unafraid." 

W. MORRIS, The Earthly Paradise. 



LONDON : T. FISHER UNWIN 
PATERNOSTER SQUARE MCMIV 



(All rights reserved.) 



Co 

MY DEAR NEPHEW 

EDMUND GOSSE 

I AFFECTIONATELY DEDICATE 
THIS BOOK. 



2090973 



** The greater portion of this work has appeared 
in serial form in The Gir/s' Own Paper. 




Preface 



t nrO the kind and indulgent circle of readers which has 
now for thirteen years gathered round me, I offer 
once more some of the results of my study of such natural 
objects as happen to 'come tinder my notice in my quiet 
home. 

Precluded as I am, by the measure of my health and 
strength, from travelling widely and from visiting fresh 
scenes, I am yet indisposed to regret my limitation. It is 
to this, perhaps, that I owe the ceaseless enjoyment which 
I gain from being obliged to look to my own surroundings 
for those sources of interest in animal, bird, and insect 
life, which an English country is ready to supply, in an 
inexhaustible degree, to the patient and willing observer. 

Trees, too, have ever been to me almost as well beloved 
as moving creatures. So much have I been impressed by 
the mystery of " those green-robed senators of mighty 
woods," that I have often longed to devote an entire volume 
to their forms and their development. But this is a task 
which I am fain to leave to abler hands than mine. The 



x PREFACE 

studies of trees contained in this volume must be regarded 
simply as monograph-portraits of certain individuals which 
possess, either from age or size, some special interest for 
me, and I would hope for my readers also. 

I am often amazed to find how little people in general 
knoiv or care about the life-history of our lovely English 
trees. The mere fact that they produce flowers comes as a 
surprise to many, and it is rare to find persons ivho can 
tell the Latin and English names and the varied uses of 
even our commonest foliage trees. 

My wish to create an interest in this study needs, I 
believe, no excuse. Even in the smallest garden there are 
problems for the observant eye for which the greatest minds 
cannot furnish an answer. We need not therefore go far 
to find subjects for thought and reflection. I truly believe 
that those have the fullest enjoyment of life who are ready, 
with open mind, to receive Nature's teachings. It is in the 
hope that they may tend to stimulate such studies I send 
forth these chapters which relate my own experiences in the 
observation of animal, bird, and insect life. 

ELIZA BRIGHTIVEN. 
March, 1904. 





Contents 



PREFACE ....... ix 

BEASTS, BIRDS, AND A BEETLE .... i 

THE FIERCENESS OF GLOUCESTER . . .3 

MY EGYPTIAN JERBOAS .... 9 

THE TREE KITTENS . . . . .16 

IN MEMORY OF MTNGO .... 21 

TAME VOLES ...... 24 

MEROPS, THE BACHELOR .... 34 

MEROPS MARRIED . . . . .40 

BOBBIE, THE BARN OWL ... .45 

AN EGYPTIAN PET . . . . -54 

MISCHIEVOUS JACK .... 58 

ORTOLANS .* ... 65 

ANCHOR, THE STAG-BEETLE ... 69 

TREES I HAVE KNOWN . . . . -79 

THE TULIP-TREE . . 81 

THE ELM 88 



xii CONTENTS 

PAGE 

TREES I HAVE KNOWN (continued) 

THE SCOTCH FIR . . . . . 99 

THE WELLINGTONIA . . . . .no 

THE HORSE-CHESTNUT . . . . 120 

THE CEDAR OF LEBANON . . . .129 

THE LARCH . . - ^ . . . . 142 

THE BIRCH . . . . . . . 151 

HOURS IN MY GARDEN ..... 163 

INMATES OF MY GARDEN . . . .165 

EARLY MORNING NATURE-STUDY . . 174 

CHANCE GLIMPSES OF NATURE . .- .181 

FRIENDSHIPS WITH INSECTS . . . 189 
UNDER THE TULIP-TREE .... 201 

SEEDLING TREES . . . . . 214 

ECCENTRIC FLOWERS . . . . -231 

MY GOURD PERGOLA .... 258 




^'sy_t>- 

r 




>SP7. 



rc7 



List of Illustrations 



VIEW AT THE GROVE . 
EGYPTIAN JERBOAS . 
"THE RUINED HOME". .' 

THE VOLES' RETREAT 
DARBY AND JOAN . . 

VOI.E, THREE DAYS OLD 
VOLE, THIRTEEN DAYS OLD 
MEROPS, THE BACHELOR 
MEROPS AND FAMILY 
BOBBIE THE BARN OWL 
BOBBIE WATCHING STRANGERS 
"JACK" SUNNETH HIMSELF 
HE STUDIETH ENTOMOLOGY 
HE DlSDAINETH THE FAIR SEX 
HE ARRANGETH THE TABLE 
ORTOLANS 

xiii 



PAGE 

Frontispiece 
ii 
14 

25 
29 

3 
32 

35 
43 

. 46 

49 

59 
61 

. 61 
63 

67 



xiv LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

PAGE 

STAG-BEETLE CHRYSALIS .... 73 

ANCHOR FEEDING . . . . . -74 

ANCHOR ANGRY ..... 74 

ANCHOR PLAYING . . . . . -75 

STAG-BEETLE FLYING ..... 76 

FLOWERS AND FRUIT OF TULIP-TREE . . 83 

TULIP-TREE BUD ..... 85 

TULIP-TREE IN WINTER . . . . -87 

ULMUS CAMPESTRIS ..... 89 

FLOWERS AND SAMARAS OF ULMUS CAMPESTRIS . . 91 

CORKY-BARKED ELM STEM . . ' . 92 
ELM LEAF ....... 95 

SCOLYTUS BEETLE ..... 97 

SCOTCH FIR . . . . . . . 101 

FIR BARK FRAGMENTS ..... 103 

SCOTCH FIR BLOSSOM AND REDSTART . . .107 

FIR COTYLEDON AND SEEDS . . . . 109 

A WELLINGTONIA IN THE STANISLAUS GROVE . . in 

HUNTER'S CABIN IN WELLINGTONIA . . . 115 
FOLIAGE AND CONES OF WELLINGTONIA (SEQUOIA) 

GIGANTEA . . . . . . 117 

YOUNG WELLINGTONIA AT THE GROVE, STANMORE . 119 
HORSE-CHESTNUT BUDS IN THREE STAGES OF GROWTH 122 
HORSE-CHESTNUT BUDS IN FOURTH STAGE OF GROWTH 123 

HORSE-SHOE MARKS ON CHESTNUT TWIGS . . 125 

HORSE-CHESTNUT . -127 

THE CEDAR VIEW ... 131 

SEEDLING CEDAR . . . 133 

THE CEDAR OF LEBANON . . . . 135 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS xv 

PAGE 

EFFECT OF A MARCH GALE . . . . 137 

CEDAR SPRAY WITH CAI.OSOMA SYCOPHANTA . 139 

THE LARCH IN WINTER ... . . . 143 

HOARFROST ON LARCH :. . . . 147 

LARCH BLOSSOM AND WREN .... 149 

WEEPING BIRCH AND YEW-TREE SEAT . . 153 

BIRCH-TREE IN A WOOD ..." . ,\, . . 155 

BIRCH-BARK WIGWAM AND CANOE . . . 159 
A BLACK SHEEP . . . . . .171 

HAUNT OF THE PET ROBIN . . . . 175 

WOODPECKERS . . . . . .183 

OSMIA BEES ...... 193 

ODYNERUS WASP ...... 195 

ZEBRA SPIDER ...... 197 

ROSETTE FORM OF LEAFAGE .... 205 

SAXIFRAGE . . 206 

FOXGLOVE ....... 207 

ACANTHUS ...... 208 

BEECH. (Fagtts sylvaticd) . . . . ' . 216 

HOLLY. (Ilex aquifofatni] . . . . 217 

TULIP-TREE. (Liriodendron tulipifera} . . .218 

SYCAMORE. (Acer pseiido-platanus) . . . 219 

TURKEY OAK. (Quercus fern's) .... 221 

ENGLISH OAK. (Quercus rolntr) . . . 222 

COMMON ASH. (Fraxinus excelsior) . . . 224 

LIME. (Tilia Europiea) .... 225 

HORNBEAM. (Carpintts betulus) .... 226 

BIRCH. (Betula alba) ..... 227 

MOUNTAIN ASH. (Pyrus aucufaria) , , 228 



xvi LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 

PAGE 

HAWTHORN. (CratceguS oxyacantka) . . . 229 

SAUROMATUM GUTTATUM ..... 234 

AMORPHOPHALLUS RIVIERI .... 235 

FLAMINGO PLANT. (Antkurium scherzcrianitm) . . 237 

ANT.HURIUM ANDREANUM .... 238 

GLORIOSA SUPERBA ...... 241 

ARISTOLOCHIA GIGAS ..... 245 

ARISTOLOCHIA ORNITHOCEPHALA .... 247 

ARISTOLOCHIA ORNITHOCEPHALA . . . " 249 

MASDEVALLIA BELLA BUD . . . . . 251 

MASDEVALLIA BELLA ..... 253 

CYPRIPEDIUM INSIGNE ..... 255 

CARVED GOURD BOWL ..... 259 

BOTTLE GOURD ...... 260 

BOTTLE GOURD (LONG-NECKED) . . . 261 

GOURD ON CAMEL SADDLE . ..-.., . . 262 

GOURD LADLE ...... 263 

GOURD USED BY BRAHMINS .... 264 

WARTED GOURD ...... 265 

CUSTARD GOURD ...... 266 

PUMPKIN ....... 267 

PERGOLA TRELLIS ...... 268 

GOURD PERGOLA ..... 269 



BEASTS, BIRDS, AND A BEETLE 



THE FIERCENESS OF 
GLOUCESTER 

A STUDY IN THE TAMING OF SQUIRRELS 

IF any one wishes for a fund of never-failing 
amusement, let her cultivate and tame wild 
squirrels ! 

It takes some years of patient feeding and 
coaxing, but when the confidence of the graceful 
little animals has once been won, they reward 
their friends with never-ceasing antics and 
gambols, fierce little scrimmages and fights 
amongst themselves, and with a succession of such 
charming attitudes that one longs for them to sit 
still quietly enough to allow one to sketch them. 

Very frequently I am visited at breakfast-time 
by as many as nine or ten of these active little 
rodents. They well know it is feeding-time for 
them, so they congregate outside the window 
waiting most impatiently until it is opened, then 



4 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

they are rewarded by a shower of nuts. Soon 
there are ten little furry people thoroughly happy, 
each flinging his nut-shells about with saucy aban- 
don, and keeping his black beady eyes fixed on 
his neighbours lest they should be meditating a 
sudden aggressive assault if opportunity occurs. 

All this is charming, but the real amusement 
begins when the store of outside nuts is exhausted 
and the squirrels come trooping into the room to 
see what they can find there. They spring upon a 
table, where my doves Peace and Patience reside 
in their large cage, and scout around to find more 
food. 

Several of the squirrels are tame enough to take 
the nuts out of our hands, others boldly run .off to 
the cupboard where their food is stored, and they 
have taught themselves to leap, first up to a shelf, 
and then into a box, where we soon hear the little 
marauders cracking the nuts. 

But how shall I describe the amusing squabbles 
that go on ? 

One, seated on the window-ledge, is knocked 
over by another leaping in ; both reach the ground 
together and have a tussle, squeaking and grunt- 
ing the while; others join in the fray, then there is 
a race round the room ending with a dissolving 
view of squirrels' tails disappearing out at the 



THE FIERCENESS OF GLOUCESTER 5 

window. It is all play, for no real harm is done, 
it is only the effervescence of high spirits and keen 
appetite. 

Some years ago a tame squirrel was sent to me 
from Gloucester to be let loose in the garden. 
For some time we could not feel sure of her 
identity ; she mingled with the others and did 
not show any special tameness. 

Of late, however, " Gloucester," as we have 
named her, has become a very marked character. 
Tameness has merged into a more and more 
defiant aggressiveness, not altogether to be desired. 
Whilst I am peacefully writing my letters, 
Gloucester springs suddenly upon my table, walks 
over my note-paper, regardless of the smudges her 
tail leaves behind her, leaps on to my shoulder, 
and with an angry growl the small tyrant in- 
timates that nuts must be forthcoming instantly 
or else she will make her claws and teeth felt in a 
way that I shall remember. At present I meekly 
obey, for peace sake, but I only hope that the 
time may never come when "Gloucester" will 
have to repent of her effrontery and find her 
liberty curtailed. 

When an animal or bird has been reared from 
its early years with care and kindness it is remark- 
able how invariably all its faculties are developed 



(> QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

and brought out. The native instincts remain, 
but being cultivated, they result in many curious 
traits showing unusual intelligence. 

Gloucester having been petted from her baby- 
hood is just an instance of educated ability. I 
must pay a tribute to her skill and perseverance 
by relating what I saw her achieve in my dining- 
room when she thought no one was observing her. 
The heavy oak door of the nut-cupboard was 
closed but not latched ; Gloucester wanted to get 
some nuts, and when she found that she could not 
get at them, she sprang up to the handle, and 
sitting upon it, she pushed with all her might 
against the door-post and actually made the door 
open sufficiently for her lithe little body to 
squeeze through into the cupboard. It certainly 
showed a measure of reasoning power, thus to 
carry out several varied actions in order to attain 
a desired end. 

I do forgive the terrible virago a good deal 
because of her cleverness, but when she sits loudly 
cracking nuts on the table-cloth within three 
inches of my plate at breakfast-time, and yet will 
not allow me to take up my fork or spoon without 
a growl or a snap, and when I know how severely 
she bit a gentle little girl who merely wished to 
" stroke the pretty squirrel," I think my readers 



77/7: WEKCE.VESS OF GLOUCESTER 7 

will agree that Gloucester carries the emancipation 
of the female sex to a very serious length. 

Squirrels vary a good deal in their appearance 
according to the season of the year. They are in 
their fullest beaut)' in April and May when the 
fur is thick and of a rich red brown, the ears are 
adorned with long additional hairs called pencils, 
and the tails are thick and bushy. Now, in the 
month of June, having worked industriously 
making their nests (dreys) and having families of 
young squirrels to maintain, the little parents' 
furry coats show signs of wear and tear ; the 
ear-pencils have fallen off, and all the tails have 
become cream colour, which gives them rather a 
bizarre effect as they flit rapidly across the lawn. 

We often see the squirrels busily stripping off 
the inner fibre of the lime-tree branches, of which 
soft material they form their dreys. The fibre is 
held together by small interlacing twigs of larch, 
and the nest is usually placed in the fork of a 
branch very high up in some fir-tree where the 
foliage is thick enough to afford perfect conceal- 
ment. Sometimes a hole in a tree-stem is chosen, 
but wherever it is, the future home is carefully 
lined with moss, leaves and fibres, and is a cosy 
retreat for the baby squirrels. 

I often wish we could see the little ones when 



8 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

quite small, but they never appear at the window 
until they are nearly as large as their parents. 
Nor do I quite look forward to the day when 
Gloucester will present to me a whole family of 
young persons as insolent and bullying as herself. 



MY EGYPTIAN JERBOAS 

(Dipus jaculus^} 

FOR some years past I have kept a pair of these 
amusing little animals in my conservatory. 
They inhabit a large case with glass sides and top, 
the floor being thickly covered with dry sand, in 
which they delight, as twilight comes on, to play 
and frolic with each other. After a light supper 
of seed and lettuce the jerboas commence their 
nightly exercises, which seem to afford them a 
never-ending source of delight. 

As their nostrils are so curiously formed that 
they can be entirely closed against the entrance of 
sand, the little animals are able to make it their 
plaything, and are for ever pushing it with their 
muzzles up and up until they have formed a heap 
and shaped it to their mind. Then they begin 
again and raise another hillock. No matter if 
their seed pan happens to be in the way ; it is 



io QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

heaved up, and over it goes ; a little later probably 
their saucer of water shares the same fate. I have 
now learnt the wisdom of giving them seed and 
water in heavy pans that cannot be upset. 

Of course, next morning I find the miniature 
desert a series of hills and valleys, and the weary 
little toilers are by that time fast asleep, clasping 
each other in their soft bed of wool. 

The drawing will show my readers the curious 
formation which enables this desert-dweller to 
play so many extraordinary pranks. Its long 
hind legs help it to leap with marvellous speed 
along the surface of the ground. 

In motion the tail is held straight, but when the 
animal is quiet the tail curves and acts as a third 
leg to support the body. The very small forelegs 
are kept so near the chest that they are only 
visible when extended to grasp a seed or nut to be 
nibbled by the sharp incisor teeth. 

The softly furred tail, with its pretty black and 
white tip, is an object of great solicitude to the 
jerboa ; it is passed between the forelegs and care- 
fully licked. Every hair is smoothed more than 
once during the evening toilet, which not only 
includes a general licking of the fur all over the 
body, but ends by an amusing acrobatic feat 
which seems to express an abandon of ease and 



12 QUfET HOURS WITH NATURE 

happiness such as I have observed in no other 
animal. 

The jerboa lies down flat upon the sand and 
stretches out its amazingly long legs to their 
fullest extent, then instantly draws them up as 
if by an invisible string, again extends them and 
then rolls over and over, finally springing up ready 
for any amount of exercise and frolic. 

The jerboa affords a remarkable instance of 
protective colouration. The soft fawn colour of its 
fur is so exactly in harmony with the desert sand 
that travellers say it is almost impossible to discern 
the little creatures as they flit over the ground, 
looking more like a flight of birds than animals. 

I can confirm the report of their swiftness, for in 
an evil moment I let my pair loose in the drawing- 
room, where they instantly showed their agility by 
leaping and bounding from one end of the room to 
the other in a high state of excitement and happi- 
ness. I enjoyed watching their gymnastics, but 
my spirit sank within me when I began to consider 
in what possible way I could capture them again. 
They would allow me almost to touch them, and 
then off they would dart in a wild, noiseless race, 
threading their way through the furniture, enjoying 
such a game of hide-and-seek as they had not 
known since they left their native desert. 



MY EG YP TIAN JERBOAS 1 3 

As it was absolutely needful that they should be 
caught, I had to resort to a butterfly-net, and by 
skilful strategy I was at last able to secure the 
lively creatures and restore them to their home, 
where, I may remark, they have abundant room 
for a reasonable amount of " healthful play." 

Naturalists are somewhat puzzled to know how 
jerboas can support life upon the scanty vegetation 
which is all the desert supplies them with. 

I have tried to tempt my small pets with every 
kind of dainty, but nothing will they accept but 
sunflower and canary seeds, lettuce and dandelion. 
On these they flourish and are always fat and 
sleek. One rather amusing difficulty has risen 
from the settled determination of the jerboas to 
gnaw up their house and home ! I thought a tin 
box might be rather unsuitably cold for them to 
sleep in, so I provided a wooden one, well filled 
with soft wool and with an entrance hole at one 
side. This appeared to be the right thing, but 
evidently it was more valuable to the jerboas as 
affording exercise for their busy little teeth than 
even as a dwelling-house. One side of the box 
was soon whittled away to sawdust, then the roof 
disappeared, and I have had the ruine drawn to 
show all that remained of the box after a few 
weeks of their diligent carpenter's work. They 



'4 



QUIET HOURS WITH NATl'RK 



are now inhabiting their fourth wooden home, and 
it is fast disappearing. 

Those who have traversed the arid deserts of 
Egypt and Arabia describe these little animals as 
living gregariously in warrens like rabbits, forming 
the burrows in the hard stony soil. As each little 




"THE RUINED HOMK." 

tunnel has four entrances, the ground in many 
places is perfectly honeycombed with small holes, 
in and out of which the jerboas, young and old, are 
for ever noiselessly flitting, as they are extremely 
timid, and retreat at the slightest sound. 

They appear to be amiable creatures, not only 



J/ ) ' EG \ '/> TIAN JERBOAS 1 5 

helping each other in the excavation of their 
underground dwellings but sharing their homes 
with the sand-grouse, desert lark and various 
lizards. 

My specimens not having been obtained when 
young, I can never hope fully to tame them. They 
will submit to be stroked and will take lettuce 
from my hand, but they have a very affronting 
way of flicking sand towards their visitor, as a 
gentle hint that they disapprove of any company 
but their own. In spite of this trifling want of 
courtesy my jerboas are very fascinating. They 
never attempt to bite, they are perfectly clean and 
odourless, and if a still larger space could be given 
them, I feel sure that their wonderful agility and 
fantastic movements would make them still more 
attractive. 



THE TREE-KITTENS 

AT the close of a sultry day in summer I 
strolled out into my garden to enjoy a 
ramble in some shady paths. As I was passing 
a lime-tree whose trunk was surrounded by a 
perfect thicket of stems and interlacing branches, 
I heard a plaintive sort of cry which appeared 
to issue from the depths of the greenery around 
the tree. Stopping to listen, I heard the sound 
renewed again and again, and supposing it might 
be a bird in distress, some fledgling needing help, I 
called and chirped to encourage the "thing," what- 
ever it might be, to show itself, so that I could 
render the assistance for which it was appealing. 

The cry came from a perfectly dark mass of 
twigs and branches about eight feet from the 
ground, so that I could neither see nor capture the 
creature that had hidden itself there. At length I 
felt sure the sound must be the cry of a kitten. I 

10 



THE TREE-KITTENS 17 

therefore began mewing like a mother-cat and, 
encouraged by that welcome sound, i could dimly 
discern a little furry creature feeling its way down 
through the branches. 

With the help of a stool I reached up and 
grasped what proved to be a most impish-looking 
animal with jet black head, body, legs, and tail, 
but light grey-coloured along the back. 

It was very thin, and mewed piteously, looking 
up with its pretty blue eyes as if to let me know it 
was an orphan and needed my pity and protection. 

I now heard other voices proceeding from the 
tree, and, being unable to reach high enough, I 
sought help to rescue the remainder of the family. 

Finally, four of these curious kittens were 
brought to light, all exactly alike, and I should 
suppose about three weeks old. 

They were placed on the lawn, and a council of 
friends decided that, as parentless waifs, they had 
a strong claim upon our" sympathy, and ought to 
be adopted. The next step was to obtain some 
milk, but how to induce the kittens to drink it was 
a problem not easily solved. As they had no idea 
of lapping, warm milk had to be given by means 
of a baby's feeding-bottle. 

This process over, they were placed in a hen- 
coop under a deodar on the lawn, and they 

3 



1 8 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

soon nestled down contentedly in a warm bed of 
hay and wool. In the evening they were brought 
into the conservatory lest a stray rat or weasel 
might attack them in the night, which would have 
resulted in a tragical ending for our defenceless 
little kits. After a few weeks the gambols of our 
tree-kittens (as we always called them) were a 
great amusement to us ; they frolicked amongst 
the fir-tree branches, ran races in and out, and 
up the stem of the tree for some considerable 
height, had mimic battles and wrestling matches, 
and as in every attitude they showed the exquisite 
gracefulness of the cat tribe, one could not help 
watching such happy little athletes. 

It was rather curious that they seemed quite to 
understand that their domain was beneath the 
deodar, for they seldom strayed far from it unless 
to creep stealthily, towards evening, across the 
lawn to visit us in the drawing-room. 

We became accustomed to see and hear a pur- 
ring black imp trying to ingratiate itself with us, 
putting on its best manners and most coaxing 
ways in the hope of being taken up into a lap and 
petted, and very frequently these wiles succeeded, 
for the kittens were most fascinating little creatures, 
always happy, and good-tempered, and ready for 
play. 



THE TREE-KITTENS 19 

My mongoose was a great puzzle to the small 
cats ; they approached him cautiously, and I had to 
keep guard lest he might give them a fatal bite. 
What was my surprise, however, to find that he 
not only tolerated their advances, but allowed 
one kitten, bolder than the rest, to go suddenly up 
to him and in the rudest manner to give him a 
box on the ear ! This so utterly astonished Mungo 
that ever after he affected entire indifference, as if 
such ill-bred creatures were beneath his notice. 

As time went on I found it very difficult to get 
my small charges to come in at night ; they 
disappeared each evening and would make no 
response to my call, so I let them have their 
own way and left them out. Next morning I 
always found them purring cheerfully in the 
sunshine, rolling over and over in happy frolics 
on the lawn. 

I managed to find out that their nightly retreat 
was a cosy recess in the thick branches of a tree 
about three feet from the ground, where they were 
effectually hidden as well as sheltered from rain 
and wind. A remembrance of their birthplace 
seemed to suggest this as a much more pleasant 
home than the one I had given them in the con- 
servatory. Like all young creatures they would 
grow from kittenhood into cats, and the sorrowful 



20 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

thing was that, with all my various pets indoors 
and out, cats could not be tolerated, so in course of 
time my little waifs were all given away, each 
transplanted into a good home where it would 
be a household pet, and so my tree-kittens are 
now only a memory of the past. 



IN MEMORY OF MUNGO 

THE life of my little wayward, amusing, 
lovable Mungo, the Ichneumon, has come 
to an end, and it surprises me to discover what 
a blank is left in mine. For five years the 
mongoose has been part of our household, con- 
stantly in sight, basking in the sun on a wool 
mat in summer, or on the rug before a blazing 
fire in winter. However sound asleep the little 
animal might appear to be, he was always fur- 
tively on the watch for a disengaged lap, and 
would come and meekly sit up on end like a 
spaniel entreating to be taken up and nursed. 
If he failed in this project, then he would 
secretly creep under a dress skirt and lie there 
perdu, so that when she rose, the owner of 
the skirt would be "startled to find his solid 
body hindering her progress. This habit was 
a very dangerous one, and had we not trained 
ourselves to rise cautiously, my friends and I 
could hardly have avoided often treading upon 
the little creature. 



22 ' QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

For the last six months Mungo has evinced a 
strong desire to live in a rabbit hole in the centre 
of a great clump of rhododendrons, and as I 
thought " camping out " might be good for him, 
his meals were placed within his reach, and he 
was allowed, as ever, to have his own way. One 
day, however, I found out that he swallowed his 
food with difficulty, and a close examination led 
to the discovery of a tumour in his throat, which 
must eventually have closed it up and caused a 
lingering death. The going away from us all 
was now accounted for, and I sorrowfully recog- 
nised the presence of that instinct which leads 
animals and birds to steal away to some quiet 
corner when they know that they are going 
to die. 

There was no hope that an operation for the 
removal of the tumour could be of any use, since 
Mungo would have proved a hopelessly intractable 
patient. All I could do, therefore, was to coax 
him to come indoors again and watch over his 
meals with extra care, that his food might be of 
a kind that he could swallow without difficulty. 
Thus the little animal lived on for a month or two 
without apparent pain, until at last he could no 
longer swallow, and I knew it would be kinder 
to end his life instantly than to allow him to die 



IN MEMORY OF MUNGO 23 

slowly of starvation. Those who have known the 
pang of losing some favourite animal, which may 
have been for years a cherished companion, will 
have some compassion for me in parting with 
Mungo. I could hardly nerve myself to give the 
fatal order, and I resolved that at any rate before 
doing so I would try and secure a life-like por- 
trait of the pathetic little face of my much-loved 
pet. In this I happily succeeded. 

I never possessed an animal that from first to 
last gave me such an amount of worry, vexation, 
and perplexity, and yet, even as a mother gene- 
rally cares most for her naughtiest child, so 
Mungo's perversity seemed only to endear him 
to us all. The mongoose never could be made 
to understand, as a dog or cat would, that he had 
done wrong and ought to be ashamed of himself. 
He would pull over a choice vase of flowers, and, 
standing amid the ruins of the china, would look 
up with the most innocent expression imaginable ; 
one could not be angry with such an irresponsible 
creature. I am glad now to remember that all 
Mungo's wicked little ways were patiently en- 
dured. If he had any crumpled rose-leaves in his 
life they were of his own making, and I like to 
think that at any rate I did my best to smooth 
them for him. 



TAME VOLES 

ONE day last August, when strolling in a 
secluded part of my garden, I was sur- 
prised to see some little brown mice playing 
about and racing after each other without at all 
regarding my presence. 

I stood and watched these playful gambols, 
and soon discovered that the little animals were 
short-tailed field-mice, or voles, as I believe they 
ought to be called. Some differences in structure 
separate the voles from the true mice and rats ; 
they also differ in their food, the voles being 
almost entirely vegetable feeders. 

The water-rat, so called, is a vole and a per- 
fectly harmless little animal. I often endeavour 
to explain this fact to farmers and working-men, 
who seem to think they have done something 
meritorious when they have hunted to death one 
of these voles, whose harmless diet consists chiefly 



26 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

of duckweed, flag, rushes, and other water-plants ; 
but, unfortunately, it looks like a land rat, and 
so it has to suffer for the evil reputation of its 
relative. 

There are two small voles, the red field-vole 
and this commoner short-tailed species which 
inhabits my garden. 

I had often wished to catch and keep these 
little animals as pets for purposes of study ; and, 
finding some specimens already so tame, I began 
to entice them to come to a special place under 
a stone archway by daily strewing at exactly 
the same spot some oatmeal and canary seed. 

Very soon the tiny creatures would allow me 
to stand and watch them feeding, and I drew 
nearer and nearer until I could almost touch 
them. 

I then put. a mouse-cage under the arch in the 
hope that they might accept it as a home and 
thus be led into voluntary captivity. This new 
idea met with a measure of approval, for one 
little vole scooped out a small cavity beneath 
the cage and appeared to make itself quite at 
home there, even allowing me to lift up the 
cage without moving, gazing curiously at me 
with its small black eyes. 

This went on from August until October. The 



TAME VOLES 27 

voles and I grew to be quite good friends ; but, 
as the colder weather would soon be hindering 
my daily visits, our friendship would have to 
cease unless I could bring my small pets indoors. 

It struck me that they might be coaxed into 
captivity by another device. I placed a glass 
globe under the arch, containing their favourite 
food, and a piece of wood leaning against 
the globe to enable the mice to climb up and 
leap in. 

When I went next morning there was a little 
vole inside the globe, and by no means frightened, 
for it allowed me to stroke its soft fur without 
alarm. 

I have had great pleasure in watching the 
graceful attitudes of this small creature. It sits 
up like a squirrel holding a grain of wheat in 
its paws; then, its meal over, it thoroughly 
cleans its fur, brushes its whiskers, and performs 
a careful toilet before going to sleep, curled up 
in a lump of cotton wool and moss. 

My ultimate aim being to obtain some baby 
voles to be trained into absolute tameness, I set 
to work to secure a mate, and placed the globe 
as before, baited with tempting food. 

In a few days' time I caught a second vole, 
and now Darby and Joan live happily together 



28 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

in a square glass case where they have room 
for exercise and where I can see and record their 
doings. 

All this may seem to some readers exceedingly 
trivial and not worth writing about ; but, seeing 
that we cannot be all day out-of-doors making 
observations about these and other subjects of 
study, there seems some use in keeping creatures 
in happy captivity, because one can thus become 
ultimately acquainted with them, and learn many 
facts about their life and habits which would 
otherwise be difficult or impossible to observe. 

I am now testing their liking for various plants, 
and after a time I may be able to make a list 
of the weeds they consume, which may possibly 
be a set-off to the damage they do in othei 
directions. 

Voles have an acute sense of smell, as I learn 
in this way. The little pair may be sound asleep 
in their bed of moss and wool, but I no sooner 
place an earthy root of groundsel or chickweed 
in their glass case than I see an inquisitive nose 
at the entrance of the dormitory sniffing the air, 
and in another minute out comes mousie to enjoy 
the feast of fresh greenery. 

The winter passed by uneventfully, until on 
the morning of January 26th I heard quite loud 



30 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

growls and squeaks proceeding from the voles' 
residence. 

The cotton-wool quivered and was upheaved 
by unseen forces. Something serious must evi- 
dently be going on, so I cautiously interfered. 

In uplifting the woollen mass I disturbed four 
little sprawling infants of a bright pink colour 
and no particular shape ! They were, of course 




VOI.K, THRKK DAYS OLD. 

speedily replaced, and I could well understand 
the state of affairs. 

The father mouse must be removed somehow 
as he was evidently in the way and quite upsetting 
the nursery arrangements, but how I was to tell 
which was which was a real puzzle. 

I thought I would try to learn a lesson from 
the wise king of old and see whether maternal 
love would not prove a sure test. I thought I 
would allow the vole that first returned to the 
nest to remain, and place the other in a separate 
globe. 



TAME VOLES 31 

The plan was successful, for the mother mouse 
went back to the nest at once and set to work 
to repair the dwelling which I had somewhat 
disarranged. 

The young voles were by no means beautiful. 
Bright red in colour, the thin hairless, almost 
transparent, skin allowed one to see the beating 
of the heart and its circulation very plainly. 

The head was nearly half the length of the 
body, and the eyes were, of course, closely shut, 
yet, feeble though they were, when only two 
day old the small creatures were full of life, and 
resented being touched by giving angry little 
kicks and plunges. Indeed, I never knew any 
family so forward. 

I purposely stroked and handled the four 
small mites daily so that they might grow up 
to be perfectly tame from their babybood. In 
doing this I noted one or two rather curious traits 
of instinct. 

Whilst still quite blind, the young voles, if 
placed on a table, would invariably creep back- 
wards and continue a retrograde movement, until 
at last they would have fallen over the edge of 
the table if I had allowed them to do so. 

I imagine nature teaches this evolution so that 
in their native burrow, these defenceless weak 



32 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

young creatures may invariably retreat as far back 
as possible out of the reach of danger. 

About ten days later, whilst I was holding one 
of the young voles in my hand in order to take 
its portrait, it surprised me by sitting up and 
beginning to clean its fur and whiskers as care- 
fully and neatly as if it had been a cat by the 
fireside, even licking each little paw in succession 
until its toilet was complete. The creature was 




VOI.R, THIRTEEN DAYS OLD. 

only thirteen days old and still quite blind, so it 
shows how soon instinct teaches the important 
lesson of cleanliness. 

On the morning of the fourteenth day the 
little mice could see and became quite enter- 
prising, nibbling lettuce leaves and oatmeal and 
roaming about their small domain. A little later 
on they could feed themselves, and I believe I 
ought then to have taken away the hard-worked 



TAME VOLES 33 

little mother, for I imagine family cares and 
worries must have accounted for my finding poor 
Joan had died on the very day when I purposed 
letting her and her mate have their liberty. 

I set Darby free in his old home under the 
archway, where no doubt he will soon find another 
mate, and I shall probably discover by their 
depredations in my garden that he has reared 
strong and healthy families to prey upon my 
cherished plants and trees. 

At present the young voles are by no means 
tame, and still indulge in kicking, squeaking, 
and scratching if I attempt to stroke them, but 
I have learnt a good deal about their domestic 
life and derived a great deal of amusement from 
my experience in vole-rearing. 



MEROPS, THE BACHELOR 

FOR some years past a rather weird-looking 
solitary rook has elected to give us his 
company in the garden, instead of living with his 
kith and kin in the neighbouring wood. 

It would be interesting to know what has thus 
severed him from social life. Has he been crossed 
in love, or has a rook-parliament for some deep- 
dyed iniquity passed sentence of banishment upon 
him? Is he possibly a bird of such a misanthropic 
turn of mind that a solitary life has really been his 
deliberate choice? 

Be these questions answered as they may, 
Merops is a > sort of familiar spirit haunting our 
garden. He is not always visible, it is true, but 
let some tempting food be thrown out, and in a 
few minutes our domestic vulture is sure to be 
seen swooping down to snatch a share of the feast. 

His tendency to keep ever on the watch with a 



MEROPS, THE HACHELOR 35 

view to earthward things led me to give him the 
name of the unhappy king of Cos, whose wife was 




MKROHS, THK BACHELOR. 



one of the attendants of Diana, by whom for some 
neglect of duty she was put to death. 

I believe the story goes that Merops, in his 



36 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

agony of bereavement, desired to commit suicide 
so as to rejoin his beloved queen in the world of 
shades, but Diana placed him amongst the stars 
under the form of an eagle. Even this fate could 
not prevent his gaze being ever downward, searching 
vainly for his dearly-loved wife. 

I will draw a veil over the difference of motive 
between the ancient and modern Merops. I fear 
in the latter case appetite rules alone, but I can 
give him a good character for personal amiability, 
for I have never seen him use his great beak 
aggressively. 

During the past winter and spring we have seen 
very interesting bird-visitors feeding just outside 
the window, attracted there by a constant supply 
of coarse oatmeal and sopped bread. 

A gorgeous cock-pheasant in full plumage, with 
snowy white ring of neck-feathers and crimson 
ear-patches, leads his little band of five or six hens 
many times a day to enjoy the food they like so 
much. Merops joins them, and so does a tribe of 
smaller birds. Jackdaws pounce down at inter- 
vals and carry away some spoil. They are born 
marauders, and seem as if they cannot enjoy any 
gift quietly like other birds, but must snatch it 
away in thievish fashion. 

The cock-pheasant clucks the whole time he is 



MEROPS, THE H AC HE LOR 3? 

eating, to encourage his mates. \vho are somewhat 
timid and ready to run swiftly away at the slightest 
sound. 

In connection with Merops I may mention a 
thrilling incident in the life of my precious little 
white-throat, Fairy. At six o'clock one morning 
he was flying about my room as usual, and in 
a moment, unperceived by me, he must have 
slipped out at the open window. When I dis- 
covered, after a weary search, that my little bird 
had escaped, I went outside the house, and there 
under the window stood Merops. I thought he 
had a guilty look, and I will confess that I 
believed he had appropriated Fairy for his break- 
fast. All day long I cherished evil surmises against 
that innocent rook. At intervals throughout that 
unhappy day I searched and called, but no trace 
could I find of my lost white-throat, and greatly 
did I reproach myself for the open window ; but, 
as it had been my habit to leave the sash a few 
inches raised during all the years I had possessed 
Fairy, it had not occurred to me as a possible 
danger. It may have been a call-note from some 
wild white-throat which suggested to Fairy the 
new idea of spending a day out of doors. 

It is needless to say the hours passed sadly with 
me, and I had lost all hope of recovering my bird 



38 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

\vhen, at six o'clock in the evening, as I was 
entering the drawing-room, to my utter surprise 
there was Fairy hopping on the floor, bright and 
cheery as ever. With a joyous note he flew on to 
my hand, and seemed in an ecstasy at seeing me 
again. It will ever remain a mystery how he 
found his way home, seeing he had never been 
at liberty outside the house since the day seven 
years ago when I picked him up a forlorn little 
orphan fledgling. How such a mite, lost in a 
hundred acres of land, escaped all kinds of perils 
from cats, and such birds as hawks, jackdaws and 
jays, puzzles me extremely ; I only wish he could 
give an account of his adventures and by what 
wonderful instinct he found his way home before 
nightfall. 

I humbly apologised to Merops for my ground- 
less suspicions, and gave him a royal feed to 
commemorate the return of the truant. 

The tameness of Merops affords me the oppor- 
tunity of becoming acquainted with various points 
in the character of a rook which cannot easily be 
discovered when the bird is seen some distance off 
in the fields. 

We usually speak of rooks as being black, but in 
reality the colour of the plumage is a rich violet 
shading into dark blue upon the head. The 



.\fEROrS, THE BACHELOR 39 

feathers have a wonderful power of reflecting the 
sun's rays, sending out flashes of light with every 
movement of the bird in a way I have never 
observed to the same extent in any other 
plumage. 

I never see the crow near enough to tell whether 
its feathers shine, but the jackdaw has very little 
reflective power, and the blackbird is a real sooty 
black, with scarcely any brightness on the surface. 

I suppose the huge bare beak of the rook is 
exactly suited to field-work, as it probes the 
ground for grubs and worms, but it is rather 
amusing to see it used for picking up grains of 
oatmeal. I think*M crops himself feels this is rather 
a slow business, for he sometimes lays his beak 
sideways so as to shovel in a good mouthful and 
thus economise time and labour. 

All through the winter months food is strewn 
under the tulip-tree on the lawn, and the entire 
rookery may be seen daily visiting their feeding- 
ground. I like to see the busy, useful birds, and 
to help to keep them alive in hard times ; but 
faithful old Merops abides with us both summer 
and winter, and we value his friendship accord- 
ingly, although why he bestows it upon us will 
always remain somewhat of a mystery. 



MEROPS MARRIED 

OU R tame rook Merops has, at last, wooed and 
won a mate ! All through last summer he 
afforded us so much amusement that I think my 
readers may like to hear a little more about his 
domestic life. 

Early in March we noticed that Merops now and 
then carried away some of his dainties to a retired 
spot behind a rhododendron bush, where we caught 
a glimpse of another rook timidly awaiting his 
arrival. Later on it was quite clear that he was 
not merely flirting, but paying very decided atten- 
tion to the shy bird who, although she could not 
be persuaded to approach the house, gratefully 
opened her huge beak and accepted the gifts of 
her devoted lover. 

Thus we came to know that Merops was no 
longer content to remain a bachelor, and we looked 



MEROPS MARRIED 41 

forward to many an interesting glimpse into the 
domestic life of our sable friends. 

We could never find out where Mr. and Mrs. 
Merops built their nest, whether in the rookery 
amongst their neighbours, or in a place of their 
nvn choosing. 

Time passed on, and we saw but one rook at the 
daily feeding-place, and therefore we concluded 
that the other was sitting. We speculated as to 
whether we should one day see Merops as a proud 
father with his children clustering around him. 
One fine May morning about six. o'clock I heard a 
loud cawing and chirping going on beneath my 
window, and cautiously looking through the blind 
I was able to watch the very thing I had longed to 
see. Merops, as he is shown in the drawing, was 
surrounded by his clamorous brood, all with open 
beaks asking for food, flapping their wings and 
giving their parent no peace or respite, since as 
fast as he fed one another squawked and pressed 
forward, to be again displaced by a third greedy 
youngster who would take no denial. Poor Merops 
did his best, but at last he became fairly dazed and 
flew away, perhaps to ask his wife to help him 
with his overpowering family. This was my first 
glimpse of the young people ; but we soon saw 
them on the lawn with their parents, and in time 



42 Ol'IET HOURS WITH NATURE 

they learned to come without fear up to the 
windows to be fed. 

Long after they appeared to be fully grown 
and fledged they still entreated their parents to 
feed them in baby-fashion, and their good-natured 
father seemed quite unable to resist the touching 
appeal of a gaping beak and a wheedling squawk. 
In consequence of painters being at work upon the 
house for a month in the autumn, we lost sight of 
many of our pet birds, partly because they could 
not endure the presence of the workmen, and also 
because at that season they could find abundant 
food elsewhere, and were thus independent of our 
bounty. 

When the frosty weather began, the faithful 
old rook appeared as usual, and, curiously enough, 
his mate stayed with him through the winter. The 
two might constantly be seen sitting side by side 
on the lawn or in the sun. If one of them moved 
a step or two away, the other would follow, so that 
in fact they seemed quite inseparable. When a deep 
snow covered the lawn it was amusing to watch 
the young rooks taking snow-baths ; it was 
evidently, a new experience to them, and, like 
children at play, they flapped their wings and sent 
up showers of snow over each other's backs, cawing 
with ecstasy, taking in large mouthfuls of snow 



44 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

and behaving altogether in a most riotous manner, 
Not so the old rooks ; they had often seen snow 
before, and were far too busy picking up grain 
to waste a moment upon idle play. 

Now the pairing time has passed, Merops and 
his mate are probably upon domestic cares intent, 
and we shall in due time no doubt be introduced to 
another generation of the respected house of 
Merops. , ' 



BOBBIE THE BARN OWL 

" Alone, and warming his five wits, 
The white owl in the belfry sits." 

TENNYSON. 

OEVERAL years ago I was asked by a lady, 
v^_} who takes a kindly interest in all living 
creatures, if I would receive her tame barn owl in 
order that it might enjoy its liberty in my 
grounds. As we possess owls both brown and 
white, I thought it would be an easy matter to let 
the captive join his kith and kin in the tree-tops. 
It was thus that Bobbie came into my possession, 
and he proved to be a tame and friendly bird, 
though evidently very timid and in poor condition. 
This being so, I thought it best to place him 
for a time in an outdoor aviary, where he was 
supplied with plenty of congenial food and had 
room to stretch his wings. After he had moulted 
and regained his health, I opened the door of his 



46 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

aviary one evening, hoping to see the owl's first 
flight into the garden, and then perhaps away into 




[P. Gosst. 



BOBBIE THK BARN O\VI.. 



the park in search of his wild relations. Bobbie, 
however, had no wish to leave his convenient 
lodgings ; he remained quietly on his perch ga/ing 



BOBBIE THE BARN OIl'L 47 

at me with his great round eyes, evidently quite 
contented with his lot. I thought it only fair to 
suggest the delights of freedom by placing him 
upon the lawn, but after a few short flights he 
quietly returned to his familiar perch, thus plainly 
showing that he preferred to remain under my 
protection. 

I have often repeated the experiment and 
always with the same result, so Bobbie is now one 
of my established pets, and lives in the conserva- 
tory in the winter, and in his outdoor house in the 
summer. During the day he elects to remain 
mostly in his rustic house, which is a box covered 
with rough bark, with a green baize curtain in 
front to afford him the subdued light which is 
usually desired by nocturnal birds. It is rather 
singular that Bobbie is an exception to this rule, 
for he will at times sit in the bright sunshine, and 
appears to prefer perching upon the top of his 
house to remaining inside. All the mice that can 
be obtained in the stable and farm buildings are 
sent in as an offering for the owl, and when this 
supply fails he has to be content with raw meat 
mixed with feathers. 

Now, after some years of petting, Bobbie is. 
absolutely tame, and will allow the friends he 
knows well to stroke his fluffy head and unfold 



48 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

his wings ; he seems indeed to love to be caressed. 
He still dreads strangers, and especially children, 
with their sudden movements, and when he sees 
them, he instantly retreats to his inner chamber, 
where he stands quivering with nervous dread. 
I rather think that before my friend possessed 
him he must have had a dark past, and probably 
known what it was to be tormented by rough boys, 
so that the sight of young faces calls up distressing 
memories. When the conservatory had to be left 
in the painters' hands for several weeks, I kept 
Bobbie in the drawing-room. Then I learned 
how friendly and sociable the bird was, for, place 
him where I would on the floor, he always con- 
trived to sidle round stealthily and ensconce him- 
self upon the skirt of my dress as I sat at my 
writing-table. 

Between many a sentence my hand has stolen 
down to stroke Bobbie's soft feathers, and whisper 
a word to my silent companion. The creature 
seemed to be perfectly happy thus to remain hour 
after hour if only I would keep quiet. The duties 
of daily life did not press upon him as they did 
upon me, and I was now and then compelled to 
interrupt his comfort by rising and leaving the 
room, upon which he would look at me reproach- 
fully, and with dignity await my return. 



50 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

During one of these brief absences a brilliant 
literary idea must have dawned upon Bobbie's 
mind, for on my return I found him standing 
amongst my papers, with one foot resting upon 
the lid of the inkstand ! He really would have 
made a pretty sketch, and I was quite sorry to 
have interrupted the bird of wisdom just when he 
was about to record his thoughts. It would be 
delightful to have a paper on things in general 
from an owl's point of view. 

Another little episode which occurred almost 
daily whilst the owl was in residence in the 
drawing-room afforded us much amusement. For 
the comfort of my feet in cold weather an india- 
rubber bottle, covered with brown plush and filled 
with hot water, used to be placed beneath my 
writing-table. One day, in my absence, Bobbie 
happened to stand upon this bottle, and he found 
that it gurgled and squirmed and felt warm, and I 
believe he at once concluded that it must be 
stuffed with mice. 

He lifted first one foot and then the other, and 
looked an utterly bewildered bird ; it was a sort of 
thing no owl could be expected to understand, and 
he evidently thought it uncanny, and at last, taking 
fright, he stalked away and stood looking at it 
from a distance. 



BOBBIE THE BARN OWL 51 

Curiosity, however, overcame his fears, and he 
returned to make further experiments by see- 
sawing on the soft, yielding surface, looking down 
with a gravely puzzled expression, quite ready to 
snatch up a mouse if one should happen to spring 
out of the mysterious thing. 

Whilst the bird was a tenant of the drawing- 
room, he daily enjoyed this diversion, and exer- 
cised " his five wits " to their fullest extent in 
trying to make out the problem of a thing that 
possessed warmth, movement, and a furry coat, 
and yet appeared to have no visible connection 
with mice. 

This mode of life was rather spoiling, and 
Bobbie began to resent being put in a cage for the 
night. He evidently reflected upon this as an 
indignity, and resolved to baffle me by hiding 
himself. As the dusk came on he watched his 
opportunity, and would steal noiselessly behind a 
sofa and secrete himself where he thought he 
would not be discovered. I felt sorry that, for 
his own safety, he had to be searched for and 
caged, but all through those weeks he cunningly 
devised a fresh hiding-place each evening, thus 
showing that he took real pains to think out the 
matter and obtain his own way if possible. 

In a glass case near Bobbie's house there 



52 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

resided during the summer months a number of 
Nile beetles, the Egyptian Scarab&i. These 
lively creatures greatly excited the owl's curiosity ; 
he would stand by the hour watching the move- 
ments of the insects with his head on one side, a 
very emblem of perplexed inquisitiveness. 

To see an owl swallow a dead mouse is rather 
a startling experience to any one who witnesses it 
for the first time. The mouse's head is first taken 
into the capacious beak and slightly crushed, 
then with a sudden gulp the body disappears and 
only the tail is to be seen ; that also is disposed of 
by slow degrees, and a quiet period of meditation 
is indulged in while digestion goes on. 

After a time another mouse is swallowed, and 
I have known Bobbie's dinner to consist of four 
or five of these rodents, indeed, of as many as 
could be secured for him. Unlike a cat, an owl 
does not torture its prey. One grip with its 
sharp talons kills a mouse instantly, so its end is 
quick and merciful. 

We often hear the hooting of both white and 
brown owls in the .summer evenings, and if we 
wish to see them it is only needful to listen for the 
loud outcries of the blackbirds in various parts of 
the garden, and we may rest assured that an owl 
is not far off. By a little searching we may 



BOBBIE THE BARN OWL 53 

descry, perched high up in the tree branches, a 
great brown owl, patiently enduring the scolding 
and mobbing of the smaller birds, expressing in 
their strongest vocabulary their hatred of his 
presence. They do sometimes succeed in dis- 
lodging their enemy, and then he flies silently 
away, followed by a flock of angry birds, sparrows, 
finches, blackbirds, and even starlings all com- 
bining to drive away the intruder. 



AN EGYPTIAN PET 

WHEN I first heard that a lady in my neigh- 
bourhood possessed a live bulbul, my 
thoughts flew at once to Tom Moore's " Lalla 
Rookh," with its visions of moonlight serenades, 
dark-eyed beauties, and all that surrounds the 
Eastern harem life. I had, in fact, only a vague 
notion that the bird was a sort of nightingale more 
or less resembling our own sweet woodland singer. 
I was, however, destined to know more about it, for 
it has come to pass that I have now the precious 
bulbul in my care whilst its owner is absent from 
her home. Possibly a few notes about such a rare 
bird may prove of interest to Nature-lovers. 

There are several species of the bulbul ; this 
particular one came from Egypt, and is often 
called the Persian nightingale (Pycuofus xantho- 
pygins). In appearance it is quite unlike an 
English nightingale. The head, throat, tail, and 
legs are jet black, the rest of the body being a 
uniform grey tint with a patch of bright yellow 
beneath the tail. In size the bird is between a 

54 



AN EGYPTIAN PET 55 

starling and a robin, sleek of plumage, well built, 
full of activity and intelligence ; its black eyes 
with their prominent grey rims are ever on the 
watch for mischief of some kind ; evidently the 
bird's active brain must find an outlet in action, 
and in consequence, when released from its cage, 
it is never still for a moment. 

Soon after five o'clock in the morning I open 
Bully's cage door, and with a joyous whistle of 
delight the bird flies to me, and perching on my 
hand, invites attention by his quivering wings and 
low warbles of affection. Bully is like a parrot in 
loving to have his head and throat caressed ; while 
I tickle his plumage, he opens his beak quite wide 
as a token of appreciation, softly holding my 
finger at intervals and pinching it more and more 
as if to ascertain how far I can bear the pressure 
without flinching. 

Whilst I am quietly reading, I can well observe 
the habits of this lively bird. He delights in 
turning over all he can find upon my toilet-table, 
and one by one, scissors and buttonhook, collar 
and cuffs, everything portable, is thrown down 
upon the floor. One morning I was surprised to 
see a sort of tropical butterfly careering through 
the air, but it was only Bully, chuckling with 
delight as he bore my lace tie round and round 



56 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

the room, evidently in great spirits at the amount 
of mischief he had already done in scattering my 
small properties, but now still more enjoying a 
triumphant flight with his new trophy. I only 
mention these trivialities to show the bulbul's 
active, vivacious nature, and how he certainly 
can lay claim to the character of a very enter- 
taining companion. 

I cannot say the bulbul has a very pleasing 
voice ; its song consists of a great variety of loud 
clear whistles monotonously repeated. When left 
alone I sometimes heard Bully warbling rather 
prettily to himself, and I should fancy if patiently 
instructed when quite young, such an intelligent 
bird might be taught to whistle tunes, or even to 
speak a few words. 

This bulbul often reminds me of my beloved 
Virginian nightingale, Birdie, of whom I have 
given the biography in an earlier volume ; Bully 
has the same kind of quick, bright manner, and 
certainly no bird could well be tamer or more affec- 
tionate ; he seems perfectly happy if allowed to sit 
on my arm or shoulder and feel the touch of a 
kind hand caressing his soft feathers. Bully's diet 
consists of fruit, either dried or fresh, mealworms 
and flies, and some soaked bread as a variety. 
When set at liberty, before doing anything else, he 



AN EGYPTJAN PET 57 

makes it his conscientious duty to kill every fly in 
the room, so his presence is highly desirable during 
the summer months, when all kinds of winged 
creatures seem to flock to the window-panes. One 
morning I found twenty-one dead bluebottles 
slain by the bulbul, who, with erected crest, stood 
whistling joyfully over their remains. 

Seeing his own reflection in the looking-glass 
draws forth his sweetest warbling notes, for, with all 
his high intelligence, the bird seems always deluding 
himself with the idea that he has found a mate, to 
whom he whistles with much unavailing ardour. 

When I first uncover the bulbul in the early 
morning, his joy and affection seem to throw him 
into a kind of ecstasy, he humps up his back, and 
depresses his head and tail, opens wide his beak 
and gurgles forth a sweet and touching greeting of 
deep affection, swaying his head from side to side ; 
as he sings he gazes at me, too entranced to think 
of food, or liberty, or anything but love. 

I have never before heard of a bulbul kept in 
captivity in this country, but the habits of the 
bird are so charming, and its ways so playful and 
full of character, that it seems to combine almost 
all the qualities one can desire in a feathered pet, 
and one cannot but recommend it to students of 
domestic bird life. 



I AM gradually learning to estimate rightly the 
responsibility of having a jackdaw loose upon 
the premises. 

There is really no way of circumventing Jack's 
craftiness except by keeping him shut up all day 
in an outdoor aviary. I feel sorry to be driven to 
this course, and would far rather let him roam 
where he pleases ; but his mischievous pranks 
have become unendurable. 

I thought to-day I had made a great discovery, 
and that by placing a large stuffed flamingo at the 
open French window I should effectually frighten 
the jackdaw from entering. 

I found him in the drawing-room on my writing- 
table busy about some evil deed, so I held up the 
great stuffed bird, at which Jack cast one horrified 
glance and then fled precipitately out at the 
window as if his last hour had come. Now, I 

58 



fo QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

thought, by placing the flamingo near the window, 
I could leave the room with an easy mind. Vain 
hope ! I came back after a few minutes and found 
the impertinent jackdaw hopping about as happy 
as a king. He had pulled to pieces a rare foreign 
insect I had just been setting on a piece of cork. 
He had overturned all the small curios he could 
find, had pulled all the pins out of a pin-cushion, 
and, worst of all, he had opened a Mudie book and 
torn its map and pages to ribbons. That book 
will have to become my property and remain a 
monument of Jack's misplaced energy. 

It was humiliating to think how he must have 
ignored my flamingo. He had seen through the 
device at once and had no idea of submitting to 
be scared away by such a bogie. 

During the winter months we do not often have 
weather which will admit of open windows, so 
Jack exercised his talent for mischief out of doors 
by hiding the padlock of the aviary, pulling up 
flower labels, and drawing nails out of the walls. 
In these varied occupations he managed to spend 
his hours of idleness. 

As a rare treat he was sometimes allowed to 
bask on the fender before the fire, and, charmed 
by the delicious warmth, he would assume the 
various attitudes shown in the illustration. His 



62 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

wings and tail expanded, his head on one side and 
beak wide open, he looked like a dying bird, but 
we knew that in reality he was in a state of 
ecstasy. 

When next summer arrived Jack was again kept 
in the aviary, and I am sorry to have to reveal a 
very dark page in his moral character. He was 
usually content with raw meat and sopped bread ; 
but, alas, he much preferred to catch his own 
dinner ! And when, attracted by his' food, 
innocent little robins, chaffinches, and sparrows 
found their way into his domain, I grieve to record 
the dreadful fact that none came out alive ! Jack 
feasted on their small bodies, and left only a little 
bunch of feathers x to show what he had been 
doing. 

I have said enough to prove that Jack is neither 
to be loved nor respected ; but he is unquestion- 
ably clever, and evidently has his own thoughts 
and ideas. 

He will fly at one's hand like a fury even 
when food is being given him ; but when his 
mood changes and he wishes to be caressed, he 
picks up a twig or a dead leaf. This is a signal of 
peace, and whilst he continues to hold it in his bill 
he is quite safe, and may be stroked and petted. 

One day in the height of summer Jack was 




.vk. 



64 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

perfectly electrified by a visit from six lively 
young magpies. The aviary door happened to be 
open, and these birds came hopping in with their 
usual free and easy manner, chattering to each 
other and coolly abstracting any morsels of food 
which suited their taste. At first Jack tried to 
drive out these audacious visitors, but they ignored 
him altogether and at last he had to stand aside 
and watch their depredations, a very discomfited 
and astonished bird. The magpies came at 
intervals for several days in succession, and then I 
suppose they went off to the woods, for we saw 
them no more. 

It is rather curious that the mating instinct has 
not led Jack into the bands of matrimony. I have 
seen several attractive specimens of his own kind 
making overtures to him, but he treats them all 
with lofty disdain and prefers to remain a bachelor. 

Perhaps next year he may yield to the fascina- 
tions of a wild mate, and settle happily somewhere 
in my woods. It would be the best thing that 
could happen, and I fear we should all eagerly bid 
him goodbye without the addition of au revoir. 



ORTOLANS 
(Emberiza hortulana.} 

YES, I must confess the ortolans were an utter 
failure ! 

I saw the name in a list of living birds for 
sale, and immediately my thoughts went back 
to old Roman times, when no banquet was deemed 
complete without its dainty dishes of ortolans 
served in a hundred ways known to the famous 
chefs of antiquity. 

Not having ever seen the bird, I did not know 
whether it was large or small, beautiful or 
commonplace. It was to me only a romantic 
name, but somehow I could not resist taking 
advantage of this opportunity of becoming the 
possessor of a pair of birds of such historical 
interest. Great, therefore, was my disappointment 
when I opened the basket in which they had 
travelled from London, to find two dingy birds, 

6 ,, 5 



66 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

very like sparrows in size and colouring, wild 
little creatures fluttering about in their cage, 
looking very miserable and unpromising as pets. 

As they evidently required more space, I let 
them loose in an outdoor aviary with a grassy 
floor and plenty of room to fly about. 

So pleased were they with this change that 
one little captive presently lifted up his voice 
and sang a sweet little warbling song. This was 
the first and only time that I ever heard either 
of them attempt to sing. 

For several months I tried my best to make 
the ortolans happy and to induce them to form 
a nest in a secluded corner of the aviary where 
building materials were supplied, but they were 
entirely unresponsive. They chirped, they basked 
in the sun, they became in good condition, with 
sleek plumage, and they developed excellent 
appetites, but as a little girl once remarked, 
" they wouldn't have any habits." So on a 
bright summer's day I opened the aviary door 
and let the captives go where they pleased. 

They remained near the house for a few days, 
and then I saw them no more. 

North Africa is believed to be the winter 
resort of this bird, so it may be that my re- 
leased captives enjoyed a few months' residence 



OK TO LANS 67 

in our woods and fields, where they would find 
insects and grain of various kinds, and that then 
instinct taught them to migrate to their own 
country. 




ORTOLAN-. 



There are establishments in the South of 
Europe where these birds are caught on their 
way south in large numbers ; they are then fed 
upon millet seed until they are plump and fat 
enough for the fate which awaits them. 



68 OUIET HOURS //'//// NAT I' RE 

I had the curiosity to look in a modern cookery 
book and found more than a dozen recipes for 
serving these poor little victims of gastronomic 
luxury. 



ANCHOR 

A STAG-BEETLE STUDY 

PEOPLE in general do not consider a beetle 
an interesting pet. A butterfly or moth may 
be tolerated, a grasshopper may have some 
redeeming qualities, a certain tame wasp has 
received much public notice, and ants are 
positively fashionable as subjects for study : but 
a beetle is generally characterised as " horrid," 
and any one liking such a creature is at once 
considered eccentric. Nevertheless, I am prepared 
at all risks to say a good word for my pet stag-beetle, 
and shall endeavour to create a sympathetic 
interest in an insect which I, at any rate, have 
found worthy of attention and study. 

It has never been my lot to reside where these 
beetles are found ; they only occur locally, and 
yet in certain English counties they seem to exist 
in abundance. A fine male specimen, with well- 

(X, 



70 QUIET HOURS WIT ft NATURE 

developed horns, was forwarded to me from 
Kent, but, unfortunately, it arrived when I was 
absent from home. As no one in my household 
seemed to covet the task of caring for the beetle, 
a council was held, and it was decided that the 
insect should be again committed to the tender 
mercies of the post, and forwarded to me in 
Hampshire. 

I feared that thus having had to travel through 
no fewer than four counties, I should find that 
the poor beetle had died on the exhausting 
second journey, but, on the contrary, when I 
opened the box he lifted up a formidable pair 
of antlers, and surveyed me with a glance of 
inquiring surprise. 

The most important matter in keeping a pet 
animal is to ascertain its congenial food, and 
endeavour to make it as happy as possible in 
captivity. Insects in this respect present a 
peculiar difficult}-, as one hardly ever obtains 
any help from books. One may take down a 
scientific work on beetles, for instance, and find 
Lucanus servus, the stag-beetle ; then will follow 
a full description, probably in Latin, of all its 
parts, and some slight sketch of its life-history, 
but about its daily food a discreet silence is 
sure to be maintained. This is probably on 



ANCHOR 1\ 

account of the difficulty of obtaining exact 
information upon that point. This difficulty is 
increased in the case of nocturnal insects which, 
like the stag-beetle, fly about in tree-branches, 
where, no doubt, they find some sort of food 
when they are far beyond our reach and sight. 

All I could do was to offer my new pet one 
thing after another, in the hope that I might at 
last hit upon a diet suited to his taste. 

He very decidedly disapproved of meat, insects, 
bread or grain, so I was puz/.led to think what 
next to offer. Having read somewhere that the 
horns of this creature are said to be used for 
piercing the bark of trees in order to obtain the 
sap, and supposing it might be of a sweet 
nature, I thought that possibly sugar might be 
acceptable ; a small lump was moistened with a 
few drops of cream, and for half an hour I 
could see the beetle's mouth-apparatus sucking 
in the sweet food with great apparent relish. 

He lowered his horns so as to hold the sugar 
firmly between them, and seemed quite intent 
upon this dainty, which he certainly must have 
tasted for the first time in his life. After a time 
I discovered that strawberry jam, or a piece of 
banana served with cream and sugar, entirely met 
the taste of this highly-refined and luxurious beetle. 



72 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE ^ 

Now occurred the necessity of finding a name 
appropriate to the new pet, and it was soon 
suggested by one of his personal habits. It is 
needless to say the creature possesses six legs, 
and each leg terminates in two curved hooks ; 
by all these twelve hooks the beetle clings with 
might and main to whatever it is resting upon. 
I could not help frequently remarking, " Here is 
this creature anchored to my shawl again," and 
in this way the new pet obtained his name of 
"Anchor;" I must admit that ever after he lived 
up to his title. 

The stag-beetle's name and diet being settled, 
a horrje-was the next thing to be arranged. For 
the first few hours the creature roamed about 
upon the table and kept appearing in unexpected 
places, greatly to the terror of the hotel -maid- 
servant, who dared hardly enter the room to 
lay the cloth for luncheon ; her first sight of 
Anchor's uplifted horns evoked such a loud 
scream from the poor maiden, that I was com- 
pelled to devise some method of keeping the 
beetle in discreet custody. A glass box, with 
one side left open for air, enabled me to watch 
his habits when at his ease, and formed a 
travelling-cage in which Anchor reached The 
Grove in safety. 



ANCHOR 73 

It may be of interest to my readers to be 
told something of the life-history of this, the 
largest of our English land-beetles. The stag- 
beetle is a member of the Laniellicorn family of 
beetles, a word signifying "leaf-horned," a term 
applied to those beetles whose antennae are com- 
posed of a series of flat plates, or leaves. The 
male alone possesses the antlers, from which the 
species takes its name ; the female has small but 
powerful jaws, with which she can bite severely, 




STAG-BEETLE CHRYSALIS. 

and is on that account a more formidable insect 
than her mate, who, as far as my experience goes, 
never uses his horns offensively. 

My specimen is rather more than two inches 
in length, of blackish-brown colour, holding his 
well-armed head erect, as if he felt himself a 
very king amongst other beetles. Some decaying 
oak or willow trunk is chosen by the female 
beetle as a nursery for her eggs, which she 
deposits in a little hole dug out by her powerful 



74 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

fore-legs. Several writers appear to think that 
the larva of this beetle was the cossus of the 
Romans, which they regarded as a delicacy. 




ANCHOR FEEDING. 



Even without the fattening process to which it 
was subjected in those olden days, it grows in 
the course of four or five years into a huge 




ANCHOR ANORV. 



ungainly grub, with legs which are so short that 
it cannot walk ; it only rolls sluggishly along 
upon its side, feeding upon rotten wood. When 
full grown it builds a cocoon out of chips of the 



ANCHOR 75 

decayed wood around it, and turns into a 
strange kind of chrysalis, in which the form of 
the future beetle can be distinctly traced. The 
insect in its perfect state does no damage to 
tree-trunks, seeming to prefer abiding amongst 
the upper branches. 

My interesting captive proves to be very fond 
of water ; plunging his head below the surface, 
he will continue drinking for a minute or more, 




ANCHOR PI. AVI NO. 



and when thus engaged, or sucking up his sugary 
food, his horns are always kept closed. At other 
times they are slightly apart, but if at all irritated 
Anchor holds himself very erect, with the horns 
widely opened in a menacing attitude; it appears, 
however, to be only a menace, for he has never 
attempted to use them defensively, or laid hold 
of my finger when I lifted f him out of his box. 

Only once did I see Anchor really use his 
horns in any way, and that was in a grotesque 



7 6 



QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 



sort of fashion, for he caught up his lump of 
sugar and flung it up t\vo or three times, playing 
ball \vith it, as if in a merry mood. 

I should much like to see the gauzy pair of 
wings that I know are lying, neatly folded, under 
his black wing cases, but nothing will induce 
Anchor to unfold them. No doubt, were he to 
find himself in the dusky twilight of a warm 




STAG-BEETLE FLYING. 



June evening on the topmost bough of an oak- 
tree, he would soon take flight and join his kith 
and kin, as they sail heavily to and fro on work 
or play intent. 

On the inner side of each fore-leg there is a 
patch of yellow down, which, when examined with 
a lens, is seen to be a little velvet brush, and 
with this the beetle is able to cleanse its antenn.ne. 



ANCHOR 77 

I often watch Anchor doing this, drawing his 
antenna; completely back, so as to bring them in 
contact with the yellow brush on each fore-leg, 
until every" speck of dust is removed. 

When I had fed and tended Anchor for 
about a month, I became absolutely certain that 
the creature knows me, for if placed on the lawn 
he will follow, me in any direction ; as I go 
to the right or left, so he alters his course, not 
as a mere accident, but invariably. How long 
this curious insect may survive his artificial 
life I do not know ; now, at the end of five 
weeks, he appears to be in excellent health, and 
enjoys his daily exercise and repasts of sweet 
food. In studying my stag-beetle's habits I 
have become more than ever persuaded that, 
even in forms comparatively so low in the scale 
of life as insects, there is much of personal and 
characteristic habit to be observed by those who 
will give close and patient attention to these 
humble forms, not mouldering in a glass case 
transfixed by a pin, but in a living captivity, 
made agreeable for them by a careful con- 
sideration of their needs and probable pleasures. 



TREES I HAVE KNOWN 



THE TULIP-TREE 

(Liriodendron tnlipifera.} 

ABOUT a hundred years ago this old home of 
mine must have been occupied by some one 
to whom I am much indebted for having planted 
rare and curious trees in its grounds. They are 
admirably placed both for their own expansion 
and for artistic effect ; and being sheltered by the 
woods and plantations which surround this place, 
they have, so far, attained full maturity without 
losing any of their main branches. 

The central ornament of the south lawn is a 
tulip-tree, of which I am afraid I am almost 
sinfully proud ! It is impossible to help admiring 
such a noble specimen of a beautiful tree. It 
stands alone in all its grandeur of ninety feet, and 
its massive trunk, which is unbranched for about 
ten feet, measures eleven feet in girth. The stem 
then divides into six pillar-like branches, each as 
large as an ordinary tree. The lower branches 

7 ' 



82 QUJET HOURS WITH NATURE 

curve downwards and rest upon the ground on all 
sides, thus forming in summer a delightful shady 
tent, which is known as our green drawing-room. 

The soft grasses which form the carpet are 
embroidered with the flowers of blue and white 
milkwort, veronica and wild violets. 

The hammock which is slung from two of the 
huge branches is a place to dream in through a 
summer's day. As one looks up into the leafy 
canopy, one watches the flitting of the birds to and 
fro, and notes the difference between the golden 
green of sun-lighted leaves and the deeper colour- 
ing of those in shadow ; the stillness meanwhile is 
only broken by such soothing sounds as the hum 
of insects or the love-notes of the birds. 

When July comes, then our tree is adorned with 
hundreds of curious flowers. These are borne 
terminally on the outer branches, which all curve 
upwards, bearing lily-shaped blossoms, and thus 
has arisen its name of Liriodendron, which means 
lily-tree. From the unusual form of the leaves it 
is sometimes called the saddle-back tree. 

The flowers are of a light vivid green with a 
splash of rich salmon colour on each petal, the 
stamens being of a deep orange. The tree is a 
native of North America and may be met with 
from Canada to Florida. In our climate it seldom 



84 OUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

ripens its seed, although it produces cone-shaped 
fruits which remain upon the tree until late in the 
autumn. * 

The North American Indians find its light firm 
timber suitable for making their canoes, but in 
England its chief use is for carriage panels ; it 
has a fine grain, on the polished surface of which 
designs can be accurately painted. It is therefore 
in^ much request for the heraldic decoration of 
vehicles. 

The buds of the tulip-tree are always the latest 
in my garden to unfold, and their arrangement 
is singularly protective. Each leaf is folded in 
half and then bent double, and a pair of large pale 
green bracts enclose the leaf. 

If we take away the bracts and the outer leaf 
we find another smaller leaf folded and sheltered 
in the same way, and beneath that another leaf, 
and so the bud contains the entire leafage of the 
twig. This curious arrangement is shown in the 
drawing, where one leaf is represented as fully 
expanded, one still folded in half and some only 
just emerging from their protecting bracts. As 

1 It may be well to explain that the beautifully-striped 
rose-coloured wood so highly prized by cabinet-makers for 
inlaying purposes, and which is known as tulip-wood, is the 
product of a Brazilian tree, Pliysocalymma floribunda. 



THE TULIP-TREE 85 

each spring returns I love to watch this unfolding 
of the tulip-tree buds, so delicately fresh and 
tender are the young leaves, while the whole 
arrangement shows creative wisdom and design 




TUI.IP-TRKK Bl I). 



for the protection of the fragile leaves in their 
early stage. 

When summer begins to wane, the tulip-tree is 
the first to show yellow tints as a sign of its 
coming glory. A few early frosts cause the leaves 



86 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

to deepen rapidly in colour until the huge tree 
is a blaze of golden yellow, and when the sun 
shines upon it, the whole garden seems to be 
illuminated. I have a large painting of the tulip- 
tree in its autumnal beauty, which, standing upon 
an easel in a dark corner of the drawing-room, 
has a similar effect of lighting it up as with rays 
of sunshine. 

I always regret the short time in which we can 
enjoy this glowing foliage ; the first high wind or 
severe frost loosens the leaves and gradually a rich 
golden carpet is spread beneath the tree. I do 
not allow this to be cleared away until we have 
watched the various changes of colour from 
chrome yellow to red brown. Finally the leafy 
cttbris is removed, and the space beneath the tree 
becomes the feeding ground for innumerable birds 
throughout the winter. On a frosty day in 
December hundreds of rooks may be seen greedily 
enjoying the wheat and barley which I have had 
strewn there for their benefit. 

Stately pheasants take their share of the good 
things, and a busy squabbling crew of smaller birds 
flit to and fro and satisfy their needs. So the 
grand old tree becomes a rallying-place for all my 
feathered friends, and, being in full view of our 
windows, affords us many a pleasant glimpse of 
nature. 




TULIP-TREE IN WINTER. 



THE ELM 

( Vlmus campestris.} 

" When the Elmen leaf is as big as a farding, 
'Tis time to sow kidney-beans in the garding. 
When the Elmen leaf is as big as a penny, 
You must sow kidney-beans if you wish to have any." 

Old Rhyme. 

IF only for its especially beautiful tints in 
autumn, the elm ought to be one of our 
favourite trees. It is, I think, almost as well 
known as the oak, and nearly as widely dis- 
tributed. Being found so frequently in hedge- 
rows, marking out the boundaries of fields, its 
fate in that position is almost invariably to be 
mutilated and lopped to prevent it unduly shading 
the crops. If, therefore, \ve wish to see this tree 
in perfection, a specimen must be sought in open 
ground where it has been permitted to develop its 
noble trunk and branches. The elm shown in the 

88 




[.?. Ln-ersuch. 



ri.Ml'S ( A.MI'KSTRIS. 



yo QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

photograph stands by my lake, and is " a thing of 
beauty" every autumn; its rich golden colour is 
enhanced by the dark foliage of the Scotch fir 
behind it, and, as it is so situated as to catch the 
last rays of the setting sun, it glows at that hour 
with a wonderful vividness of colouring both in its 
spring and autumn dress. 

According to the quaint old quatrain the bud- 
ding of the elm would seem to have been regarded 
in earlier days as a useful guide in the matter of 
seed-sowing. Even now, as the re-leafing of trees 
varies much from year to year, according to the 
weather, it is possible that the guidance of the elm 
may not be without a certain value for the obser- 
vant gardener. The blossom of this tree is pro- 
duced mainly on the upper branches, and so early 
in the year that it is seldom observed. The 
flowers are small, but they cover the twigs so 
profusely as to give a rich, reddish-purple tinge 
to the upper part of the tree in early spring. 

As they wither and fall off, they are succeeded 
by pale green flat seed-vessels called samaras. In 
the case of the wych elm these cluster so thickly 
on the branches as to give the effect of young 
leafage. 

Sir Joseph Hooker in his " Student's Flora " 
speaks of the elm as " an extremely variable tree," 




KI.OUKRS AM) SAMARAS UK UI.ML'~> CAM I'KSTRIS. 



QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 




CORKY-BARKKI) ELM 
STEM 



so it may be well to describe 
rather minutely some of its 
varieties. 

Ulmus* campestris is the 
species we find everywhere 
in fields and hedgerows. It 
is a lofty upright tree with 
rough bark and widely spread- 
ing branches. Where fully 
grown, it often attains a 
height of seventy or eighty 
feet, with a trunk of massive 
girth. 

Its seed is placed in the 
upper part of the pale green 
samara, whilst in the wych 
elm we find it in the centre 

y 

of the seed-vessel. This will 
guide us to distinguish be- 
tween the two trees in early 
spring. Later on in the year 
the much larger leaves of the 
wych elm, their regular alter- 
nate growth on the twigs and 
their much deeper serrations, 
afford us still more definite 
indications of the species. 



THE ELM 93 

A variety of the common elm (Ulmus suberosa) 
develops thick ridges of corky substance on its 
branches. The cork is soft and brittle and 
appears to be of no special use to the tree. The 
formation of this cork is somewhat uncertain, as 
many trees may be seen without any such 
development, whilst others, growing under the 
same conditions, have even the smallest twigs 
thickly covered with cork ridges. 

Again it often happens that where a smooth- 
stemmed elm is cut down, the young shoots which 
spring up are coated with cork. 

The Ulmns Montana, or vvych elm, has ex- 
tremely graceful drooping branches, and is one 
of our most ornamental trees. It is a native of 
Scotland, and is found not only on the plains, but 
endures the cold of the Highlands. All varieties 
of the elm have oblique-shaped leaves, but this is 
more especially the case with the wych elm ; its 
strong, vigorous shoots bear large leaves so curved 
and far apart that each receives its due proportion 
of sun and air. 

Other kinds of elm are Ulinus minor, which is 
densely clothed with small leaves, Ulinus glabra, 
a smooth-leaved variety, and Ulmus carpinifolia 
with leaves resembling the hornbeam. I happen 
to possess a well-grown young elm which bears 



94 QUIRT HOURS WITH NATURE 

cream-coloured streaked and spotted leaves ; this 
is merely a sport of the common Ulnms cainpestris, 
but seen amongst the dark green foliage of other 
trees, it is highly ornamental. 

It is somewhat difficult to trace the origin of the 
elm, but at any rate, it is known to exist in North 
America, Siberia, and North and South Europe ; 
and since campestris never ripens its seed in 
England, it rather points to its needing a warmer 
climate to enable it to do so, and would lead one 
to believe it to be an imported tree. 

There is no doubt that the elm has been a 
common tree in England from very ancient times, 
from the fact noted by Evelyn that in the Domes- 
day Book, which dates from 1068, there are.. more 
than forty places bearing the name of this tree, 
such as Elmhurst, Elmstead, Elmham, and others. 
Cambridgeshire and Oxfordshire each possesses a 
village named Elm. 

We may now consider the uses to which elm 
timber is applied. It is remarkable for its 
durability under the action of water, and is there- 
fore in great request for piles to keep up the banks 
of rivers, and for drainage purposes. In making 
some alterations on this estate, the workmen found 
a drain of very ancient date formed of elm-trunks 
hollowed out and used as a conduit. These 



THE ELM i>5 

specimens of elm-wood were in a serviceable and 
undecayed condition, and showed what must have 




KI.M I EAF. 



been in use long before earthenware and metal 
pipes were introduced. 

The roughness and rigidity of elm timber makes 



96 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

it specially suitable for the wheelwright, who 
uses it for making barrows and farming imple- 
ments. 

Virgil speaks of young elms being bent down 
while growing and tied in such a position that 
they would eventually form the curved handles 
required for ploughshares. The passage is thus 
translated in Lord Burghclere's beautiful version 
of " The Georgics " : 

"Now in the forest bend the living elm 
With thy full vigour, beam-wise moulding it 
Into -the curved shape of a plough." 

Elm timber is used for the keels and gunwales 
of ships ; it is not liable to split, and bears the 
driving of nails and bolts better than any other 
wood. 

It is interesting to note how various are the 
purposes for which elm timber is suitable. Axle- 
trees and coffins, trunks and chopping blocks, 
palings and tool-handles are all made of this 
valuable tree. Evelyn speaks of elm wood, from 
the tenor of the grain and its toughness, as being 
" particularly well fitted for those curious works of 
fruitages, foliage, shields, statues, and architectural 
ornaments " in which the ingenious artists of his 



THE ELM 



97 



age delighted. The roots also, and the huge wens 
or excrescences which are sometimes found upon 
the branches, afford beautifully mottled and 
veined material for cabinet-makers. 

The tree is preyed upon by a specially noxious 
beetle, Scolytus destructor. The perfect insect 




feeds upon the 
numerous holes 
of the sap, and 
becomes sickly, 
female beetle, 
inches long, and 
to forty eggs. 



SCOLYTUS BEETLE. 

inner bark of the tree, and the 

it makes interfere with the flow 

also admit moisture. The tree 

and it is then perforated by the 

She bores a passage some two 

lays in it at intervals from thirty 

She then dies, and in about two 



98 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

months the eggs are hatched, and, as will be seen 
in the drawing, the grubs eat their way along right 
and left until they are full grown. They then turn 
into chrysalides, and finally into beetles ready to 
begin their devastating work on other trees. It is 
said that as many as eighty thousand beetles have 
been found upon one tree. 

There seems no cure for this pest, but the 
radical one of cutting down the tree and burning 
every particle of the bark. The beetle itself is 
less than a quarter of an inch in length, but as it 
exists in such amazing quantities, it forms in some 
.localities a very serious hindrance to the growth of 
elm and ash woods. If we happen to see a loose 
piece of bark on an elm or ash-tree, it is very 
probable that on lifting it up we shall find the 
curious pattern being engraved on the wood 
beneath by the jaws of this destructive insect. 



THE. SCOTCH FIR 

(Pinus sylvestris.} 

OX a rising slope of my lawn stands a noble 
specimen of the Scotch fir. During a 
century of years it has grown undisturbed by the 
hand of man, and in that time it has developed a 
stem nearly a hundred feet in height, with massive 
branches on all sides. I have often wondered 
whether this fir was self-sown or was planted 
where it now stands. 

It is but seldom that a tree has the opportunity 
of growing symmetrically for so long a period with 
abundance of space, air and light for the perfect 
development of its stems and branches. 

A young seedling runs many risks of injury. 
Not only is it liable to suffer by human agency, 
but the chance nibble of a rabbit or the ravage 
of a s\varm of insects may end its life in a 
moment. 



ioo QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

The tree must have survived these dangers and 
grown year by year through winter's storms and 
summer's drought, sending down mighty roots to 
support the weight of timber we now look upon. 
The stem at eighteen feet from the ground is 
twelve feet in circumference, and it has been calcu- 
lated that it and the branches contain more 
than twenty tons of timber. 

I do not think there is any other tree (unless it 
be a cedar of Lebanon) that lends itself so well 
to varied atmospheric effects as does a Scotch 
fir. I have enjoyed the beauty of this tree for 
more than thirty years, and from sunrise to sun- 
set it presents to the eye a series of charming 
compositions, of which it is the centre. The charm 
mainly arises from its varied backgrounds. The 
tree itself changes but little except to put on a 
rather brighter tint of green in early summer. 
Its full rich evergreen foliage endures patiently 
the extremes of heat and cold to. which our 
variable climate exposes it. At sunrise in early 
summer the sky behind the fir-branches is often 
flecked with rosy pink cloudlets on a pale blue 
ground. The level rays of sunlight just touch 
some of the outermost branches, bringing them 
into relief against the darker boughs, and thus 
giving the light and shade which makes a transient 




SCOTCH KIR. 



102 Q.UIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

effect into a picture. Often have I longed to sketch 
it, but it is too evanescent. That particular effect 
only lasts for a few moments, and is retained as a 
mental impression only. Another early morning 
effect is to*be seen when the garden is bathed in 
dew and a pale blue mist envelops everything with 
a veil of poetic mystery. The fir is then only 
partly visible. Not a leaf is moving. All Nature 
revels in the refreshing dew by which trees and 
shrubs are enabled to live through long weeks of 
parching drought and still retain the greenness 
of their foliage. . 

In summer the pollen-laden blossoms add a 
somewhat golden tint to the fir-branches and fill 
the air with a mist of yellow powder whenever a 
passing breeze disperses it far and wide. The rich 
red colour of the Scotch fir bark is beautiful at all 
times r but it glows like burnished copper when lit 
up by the rays of the setting sun. 

I love, as I sit between my Scotch fir and 
the west, to watch this illumination creeping 
higher and higher as the sun sinks, until it 
reaches the crest of the tree, then ceases, and 
the grey mists of evening steal over the quiet 
garden. 

Very occasionally we are treated to a rather 
startling effect. Lurid thunderclouds form the 



104 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

background. The fir-branches appear to be of 
a light metallic green by force of contrast. One 
is prepared for the lightning-flash and the roll 
of thunder, when suddenly the setting sun shines 
out, and the effect is weird indeed. It is like a 
scene at a theatre when coloured lights are turned 
on. No words can describe the intensity of colour 
and the strangeness of the effect. 

The trees are so placed in this garden that in 
the evening the foreground and background lie 
in deep shadow. The middle distance only is 
lighted by the rays of the setting sun shining 
through a narrow gap in the belt of trees which 
surrounds this estate. Hence, by force of strong 
contrast of light and shade, we are treated to 
these beautiful and striking effects of sunlighted 
foliage. 

Once more we will change the scene to the 
depth of winter. Then our great fir puts on its 
grandest aspect. Each branch, snow-laden and 
covered with glistening frost crystals, set off by 
the crimson and gold of a sunset sky, forms the 
centre of a landscape of surpassing beauty. The 
stillness which generally accompanies a hard 
frost, sometimes permits us to enjoy this special 
effect for days together, the tree standing out 
white-wreathed against varying backgrounds of 



THE SCOTCH FIR 105 

pale and dark blue, saffron and crimson, with 
the added beauty of ever-changing clouds. As 
night comes on all colour fades away, and the 
great branches assume an almost inky .blackness 
against the sky, until, as the moon rises behind 
the tree, another picture of special beauty is 
afforded us. The silvery light just touches the 
stem and branches here and there, leaving the 
rest in deep shadow, and as cloud masses come 
and go, the wavering glints of light compose an 
ever-varying scene of calm beauty of which I 
never weary. 

The Scotch fir is, I believe, the only pine-tree 
that is native to Great Britain. 

Gerard says, " I have scene these trees growing 
in Cheshire, Staffordshire and Lancashire, where 
they grew in great plentie, as it is reported, before 
Noah's floud." It would be rather difficult to 
prove that statement of the old herbalist, but 
the finding great trunks of this tree in peat 
bogs both in England and Ireland, goes far to 
prove that it is indigenous to both countries. In 
the Highlands of Scotland this tree is to be seen 
in perfection. Sir T. D. Lauder thus graphically 
describes the romantic beauty of these fir-woods : 
" At one time we find ourselves wandering along 
some natural level under the deep and sublime 



io6 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

shade of the heavy pine foliage, upheld high 
overhead by the tall and massive columnar stems, 
which appear to form an endless colonnade, the 
ground dry as a floor beneath our footsteps, the 
very sound of which is muffled by the thick 
deposition of decayed pines with which seasons 
of more than one century have strewed it, hardly 
conscious that the sun is up, save from the 
fragrant resinous odour which its influence is 
exhaling and the continued hum of the clouds 
of insects that are dancing in its beams over 
the tops of the trees. Anon the ground begins 
to swell into hillocks, and here and there the 
continuity of shade is broken by a broad rush 
of light streaming down through some vacant 
space and brightly illuminating a single tree of 
huge dimensions and of grand form which stands 
out in bold relief from the darker masses behind 
it, where the shadows again sink deep and 
fathomless among the red and grey stems, whilst 
nature, luxuriating in the light that gladdens 
the little glade, pours forth her richest Highland 
treasures of purple heath-bells and bright green 
bilberries, and trailing whortleberries, with tufts 
of ferns and tall junipers irregularly inter- 
mingled." 

The timber of the Scotch fir, which is known 




SCOTCH KIR BLOSSOM AND REDSTART. 



io8 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

as red deal, is universally used for house-building, 
its lasting qualities being nearly equal to that of 
the oak. 

The roofs of old buildings made of this wood 
have been found, after the lapse of centuries, in 
perfectly sound condition. 

The pine stems imported from the Baltic form 
the tall straight masts required for the Navy. 

In aged specimens of the Scotch firs the bark 
becomes peculiarly rugged, so cracked and seamed 
that it lies upon the trunk of the tree in large 
irregular masses, from which thin flakes are 
continually becoming detached and strewing the 
ground beneath with morsels of bark. These 
flakes are often of a most fantastic outline, and 
bear a remarkable resemblance to the conven- 
tional tree-stems we see in Chinese embroidery. 
The coincidence is curious, and as the tree 
grows^ abundantly in China, I imagine such 
designs may possibly have been suggested by 
this tree. 

Reference to the drawing will show the male 
blossoms which cover every branch in the month 
of June. Yellow pollen, of which I have already 
spoken, is produced frpm them in vast quantities, 
and each grain, being provided with two small 
bladders, is admirably fitted to float in the air, 



THE SCOTCH FIR 



109 




to be carried by the wyid and thus to be brought 
in contact with the im- 
mature cone. The pollen 
grains remain adhering 
to the female flower for 
twelve months, there 
slowly developing and 
creating the small green 
cones that we see in the 
following spring. These 
continue to grow and 
harden, and by the third 
year they contain the 
winged and perfected 
seeds. 

Seedling firs possess six 
or seven seed-leaves, and 
as these increase. in size 
a bud is formed in the 
centre from which the 
true leaves will ultimately 
arise. 

I often wonder why I 
so seldom find a seedling 
fir, but I imagine our 
numerous squirrels hunt 
eagerly after the ripening cones, and so but few 
seeds have a chance of germinating. 




FIR COTYLEDON AM) SKKI. 



THE WELLINGTONIA 

{Sequoia gigantea^} 

A WELL-GROWN specimen of the Welling- 
tonia, one of the largest species of tree 
in the world, stands on my lawn, and being a 
youthful scion of a giant tree, it has given rise to 
many conjectures as to its age. 

This question has lately been solved by my 
arriving at the fact that the Wellingtonia was 
only introduced into England by Mr. W r m. Lobb 
in 1853, and thus, even if my tree was one of the 
specimens earliest planted, it has only had fifty- 
one years in which to produce its solid trunk, now 
forty-three feet in height. The base is of bulky- 
size, showing that preparation is made in early 
years for the" weight it will have eventually to 
support. 

Thus at the ground level it measures exactly 
eleven feet ten inches in girth, whilst three feet 



A \\EI.I.INI; TON i A IN THE STAMM.ATS C.ROVE. 
(The hollow base was used for years as a hunter's cabin.) 



H2 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

higher the girth is reduced to seven feet ten 
inches. 1 It is difficult to convey to my readers 
any definite impression of the amazing height of 
the Sequoia of the Sierra Nevada valleys. 

Two of the largest of these trees have been 
destroyed ; they are said to have been four 
hundred feet high. Now if we remember that 
the Monument in London is only two hundred 
and two feet, and that St. Paul's Cathedral, from 
its base to the top of the cross, is four hundred 
and two feet, we may in some measure grasp an 
idea of the colossal altitude attained by these 
prehistoric trees. 

There are still remaining many grand specimens 
in the Calaveras and other groves, ranging from 
two to three hundred and sixty feet in height, but 
it is grievous to learn that these noble trees are 
being ruthlessly felled for timber. Unless some 
check is put to the devastation of the lumbermen, 
they must in a short time become extinct. 

The Sequoia gigantea is only to be found in 
small " groves " scattered along the western slope 

1 I have some notes of another specimen of Wellington!;! 
planted in 1861 in better soil and in a more sunny situation. 
This tree has now attained a girth of thirteen feet near the 
ground, and is in height about sixty feet. It grows in an 
open field, and its branches, resting upon the ground, cover 
an area of ninety feet. 



THE' WELLINGTON I A 113 

of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Of the larger 
trees only about five hundred specimens now 
remain. 

Many years ago the bark of one of these great 
trees was stripped off for about one-third of its 
height (130 feet), cut into sections which were so 
numbered and arranged that they were able to be 
brought to England and rebuilt in the form of 
a hollow tree. This was placed in the tropical 
portion of the Crystal Palace, where it reached 
up to the glass roof. I well remember seeing it 
there and marvelling at its amazing size. These 
bark sections were two feet thick and enclosed 
sufficient space to accommodate fifteen persons who 
could be comfortably seated inside the tree. 

At San Francisco a piano was placed and a 
ball given to more than twenty persons on the 
stump of a Wellingtonia which had been brought 
thither. 

It seems a grievous pity that when, in 1866, 
the tropical portion of the Sydenham Palace was 
destroyed by fire, this relic of the great tree should 
have perished. 

I will quote some interesting particulars about 
these huge trees from a pamphlet issued by the 
United States Department of Agriculture. Mr. 
Muir says, "Their great size is hidden from the 

9 



ii4 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

inexperienced observer as long as they are seen 
at a distance in one harmonious view. When, 
however, you approach them and walk round 
them, you begin to wonder at their colossal size, 
and seek a measuring rod. These giants bulge 
considerably at the base, but not more than is 
required for beauty and safety ; and the only 
reason that this bulging seems in some cases 
excessive is that only a comparatively small sec- 
tion of the shaft is seen at once in near views. 

" One that I measured in the King's River 
Forest was twenty-five feet in diameter at the 
ground and ten feet in diameter two hundred feet 
above the ground, showing that the taper of the 
trunk as a whole is charmingly fine. When you 
stand back far enough to see the massive columns 
from the swelling instep to the lofty summit, 
dissolving in a dome of verdure, you rejoice in 
the unrivalled display of combined grandeur and 
beauty. 

" About one hundred feet or more of the trunk 
is usually branchless, but its massive simplicity 
is relieved by the bark furrows which, instead of 
making an irregular network, run evenly parallel 
like the fluting of an architectural column, and 
to some extent by tufts of slender sprays that 
wave lightly in the wind and cast flecks of shade, 




HUNTER'S CABIN IN \\ELI.INGTO.NIA. 



1 1 6 (2 UIE T HO URS . WITH NA Tl'RE 

seeming to have been pinned on here and there for 
the sake of beauty only." 

The wood of this tree when first cut is white, 
but it soon turns to a dark mahogany colour. 

The cone, for a tree of such amazing size, is 
remarkably small, not even so large as that of the 
Scotch fir. An inch in width, and an inch and 
a half in length is about its usual dimension. Each 
cone is said to contain from two to three hundred 
seeds, and, on a single branch of only two inches 
diameter, four hundred and eighty cones have been 
counted. The tree is monoecious, and bears its 
male flowers terminally. Like the cones, they are 
extremely small and inconspicuous ; in fact, I have 
not been able to examine either blossom on my 
own tree, although I know it must have flowered 
on some of the higher branches, as I occa- 
sionally find a cone lying beneath the tree in 
autumn. 

When imported into other countries, Welling- 
tonias contrive to live and grow, but they do not 
seem to flourish in any climate but their own. 

English botanists named the Sequoia " Welling- 
tonia" after our own great General, but in the 
United States it is known as Sequoia washing- 
tonia. 

There is a marked difference in the mode of 



n8 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

growth of a young Wellingtonia and an aged 
specimen, as may be observed in the drawings. 

The photograph of one of my own trees shows 
that the branches rest upon the ground, and the 
whole outline from the base to the apex is that 
of a cone. This is its mode of growth when so 
placed as to have plenty of space, air and light 
on all sides, but if the tree is growing in a wood 
where light only reaches it from above, and space 
and air are limited, then, as is the case with other 
trees, the lower branches are starved ; they become 
feeble, and die off, leaving a bare stem of a height 
greater or less according to the age and size of the 
surrounding trees. 

In a small wood of spruce firs adjoining this 
garden, the effect of overcrowding is strikingly 
evident. The slender stems rise without a branch 
for seventy or eighty feet, crowned by a very small 
head of greenery at the top. In a high wind 
these feeble trees sway to and fro like so many 
hop : poles, and if it were not for the protection 
afforded by the belt of sturdy oaks and Scotch firs 
which surrounds this place, some winter's storm 
would have long ago levelled them with the 
ground. 




. /MTSWC&, 

YOfNC, \VF.I.I INC. TOM A A I THE C.ROVE, STANMORE. 



THE HORSE-CHESTNUT 

hippocastanuin?) 



" Children played beneath it, lovers sat and talked, 
Solitary strollers looked up as they walked. 
Oh, so fresh its branches, and its old trunk gray 
Was so stately rooted, who forbode decay ? 
Even when winds had blown it yellow, almost bare, 
Softly dropped its chestnut^ through the misty air ; 
Still its few leaves rustled with a faint delight, 
And their tender colours charmed the sense of sight." 

DORA GKEEXWELL. 

THIS handsome tree appears to have been. 
introduced into England, probably from 
Northern India, about the middle of the sixteenth 
century. 

Many of our native trees have such inconspicuous 
catk-in flowers, and produce them at such a height 
from the ground, that they may well be passed by 
unobserved, but the striking beauty of a horse- 
chestnut in full flower must appeal to the most 
unobservant eye. 



THE HORSE-CHESTNUT 121 

Gerard mentions it as a rare foreign tree in 1579, 
and Evelyn remarks with reference to it in 1663, 
" I wish we did more universally propagate the 
horse-chestnut, which being easily increased from 
layers grows into a goodly standard and bears a 
most glorious flower even in our cold country." 
How he would have admired the magnificent 
avenue of chestnuts in Bushey Park if he could 
have seen them in their full beauty of rich foliage 
and masses of silvery blossoms ! 

I believe it was the unfolding of the conspicuous 
buds of the horse-chestnut that first led me to take 
a special interest in our English forest trees, and 
in the hope that my readers may share in that 
interest I have drawn four studies of these buds to 
show their mode of unfolding in early spring. 

The leafage of the tree is securely packed in 
each bud and defended from the effects of frost 
and snow by no fewer than fourteen scales, 
cemented together by a resinous substance which 
effectually shelters the immature leaves. With 
care it is possible to unpack one of these buds in 
winter, and by the help of a magnifying glass the 
minute leaves can be seen surrounding a little 
spike of flowers embedded in a substance which 
resembles soft yellow wool. 

Xo severity of cold seems able to penetrate these 



THE HORSE-CHESTNUT 



12 



buds. They yield only to the increasing warmth 
of the sun in spring, which gradually melts the 
outer resinous coating and permits the scales to 
unfold and drop off, thus releasing the leaves, 
which, in all the beauty of their tender green, hang 
droopingly for a while, until they gain strength to 




II<>KM-:-< IIKSTNUT BUDS IN FOURTH STAGE OF CROWTH. 

expand their five or seven leaflets. It is at this 
time that our numerous squirrels hold high revels 
amongst the branches, biting off the young shoots 
of tender leafage, apparently in sheer mischief, 
until the ground beneath is strewn with. a debris of 
leaves and flower-buds. 



i2 4 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

This annual pruning only lasts for a day or t\vo, 
and I must say I can never trace any ill-effect from 
it ; doubtless nature supplies fresh shoots to fill 
the place of those that have been destroyed. 

There are many derivations of the name of this 
tree ; I can but suggest one or two that seem 
most likely to be correct. As the word " horse " is 
a common prefix denoting anything large or 
coarse, such as horse-radish, horse-mushroom, it 
may have been applied to this tree because it 
grows vigorously and has large expanding leaves. 
I am, however, inclined to believe that it is more 
likely that the name has arisen from the leaf-scars 
so closely resembling a horse's shoe. Also 
amongst the smaller twigs may be found some 
which are almost exact counterparts of a horse's 
foot, fetlock, and leg. According to the angle at 
which they grow will depend their resemblance to 
a fore or to a hind leg. 

The glossy brown nuts which strew the ground 
in autumn do not appear to be of much value. 
Starch has been made from them, but the process 
was found to be too costly to be remunerative. 
Neither are they attractive to any animals except 
deer, which greedily devour horse-chestnuts. For 
their sake I allow the nuts to be collected when 
desired by those who possess a deer park. 



THE HOKSE-CHESTNL'T 125 

In Switzerland, I believe, these nuts are crushed 
and used as food for fattening sheep. 

The horse-chestnut is one of the first trees to 




HORSE-SHOE MARKS ON CIIESTXl'T TWUJS. 



show the yellow tints of autumn, but it is beautiful 
in its decay, and hardly can I recall a more vivid 
effect of colouring than may be seen when looking 



126 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

up at a deep blue sky through golden-leaved 
chestnut boughs. 

In some cases a branch here and there will 
turn a rich crimson, which greatly increases the 
gorgeous effect. 

The forms which the adult tree takes are often 
eccentric. Five and twenty years ago there was 
a horse-chestnut in the grounds of Ardbraccan 
Castle, County Meath, which covered nearly a 
quarter of an acre, its peculiarity being that it 
imitated the banyan tree, the branches falling and 
taking root again. I do not know whether this 
remarkable specimen still survives. 

The separate leaflets, when dry and sear, will 
often curl into a peculiarly graceful form, and 
after remarking this fact for many years I was 
much interested to see, at an exhibition of carved 
wood-work at South Kensington, that one of the 
students had produced an exquisite panel, the 
ornamental scheme of which was entirely borrowed 
from these curled leaflets. An artistic eye had 
noted tfyeir special beauty and used them with 
admirable effect in an elaborate design in carved 
lime-wood. 

The timber of the horse-chestnut is soft, and 
unfit for use where strength and durability in the 
open air are required. It is, however, said to 






- 




HORSE-CHESTNUT. 



128 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

be useful for underground water-pipes, and the 
boards are suitable for flooring and packing- 
cases. 

It is worth while to observe the curious way 
in which the bark splits off in a series of curves, so 
that the fragments beneath the tree are of a 
rounded form, whilst the sycamore has an exactly 
opposite habit ; its bark splits vertically and 
horizontally, shedding small pieces which are 
often absolutely square. 

I am glad to observe that the red-flowered 
chestnut (Pavia rubra], which is an allied species, 
is more frequently planted than it used to be ; 
its flowers are scarcely as large and vigorous as 
those of the common horse-chestnut,, but their 
vivid colour combines admirably with masses of 
lilac, laburnum, hawthorn, and other flowering 
shrubs. 

Our specimen of Pavia macrostachya is always 
one of my " spring delights." Its early shoots are 
of a fine reddish brown hue, opening into leaves 
of elegant form, and then, six weeks later than 
the common chestnut, it produces its curious 
flowers. They are white, with long projecting 
stamens which give a delicate fringed effect to 
the spike of blossom. 



THE CEDAR OF LEBANON 

(Cedrus Libani^] 

" The trees of the Lord are full of sap : the cedars of 
Lebanon which He hath planted." PSA. civ. 16. 

THE two ancient cedars I am proud to 
possess cannot, like my Scotch fir, be 
seen from the windows of the house, for they stand 
in the park at some little distance from the 
garden. A good view, however, of their grand 
proportions can be obtained from a mound, 
twenty-four feet high, which is sufficiently near 
to the trees to enable us to look down upon the 
great horizontal branches in a way that is not 
always possible. 

The origin of this mound or " Cedar View," as 
we call it, has been a subject of much speculation. 
It is certainly ancient, and an antiquarian friend 
of mine suggested that it was a Saxon barrow, 
possibly containing interesting remains of a far- 

10 i-M 



130 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

away time. In the light of this conjecture it was a 
curious coincidence that, whilst he and T were dis- 
cussing this subject and examining the old mound, 
I happened to pick up on the spot a British 
hammer, that is to say, a flint stone chipped by 
human means in a special way, and much abraded 
at one end by having been used for pounding 
corn in the days before iron implements had been 
invented. This seemed to confirm the idea that the 
mound had a history, so, when severe weather 
set in, and men were wanting work, I resolved 
to make an opening into it to try and find the 
hidden remains if any existed. Accordingly 
tunnels were bored both vertically and hori- 
zontally, but, alas ! as we only found roots of 
water-plants amongst the clay, we came to the 
conclusion that the hill was formed of the earth 
dug out of a deep pond near by, and so our 
Anglo-Saxon theory came to nothing. 

Still the Cedar View has its interest, and is 
very picturesque, as may be seen from the sketch, 
showing its pleached yew-hedges, its ancient moss- 
grown lions, and the statue of Dick Whittington, 
which forms the centre of a gravelled space at 
the top of it. Trees of great size grow on and 
around the Cedar View, showing it has existed for 
at least a century of years. A sycamore, seven feet 




T1IK CEDAR VIEW. 



132 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

in girth, overshadows the little figure of Whitting- 
ton, who looks plaintively around as if listening 
for the fateful bells. Two huge hollies stand 
near by, with tall slender stems drawn up by 
their position amongst other trees till they have 
attained the height of forty-five feet, with a girth 
of four feet nine inches. 

This Cedar View is a delightful place on a 
summer's day. Sheltered from the sun, with a 
cool refreshing breeze from the wide stretch of 
open country which lies eastward, we look through 
and above the cedars across the park, which 
slopes down to the rush-fringed lakes, catching 
a glimpse of the Elstree Reservoir, then over 
wooded country to far blue distances, with the 
grey pile of St. Alban's Abbey on the horizon. 

The cedars this year are thickly covered with 
their light green cones, formed twelve months 
ago, and needing another year or more to come 
to maturity. When quite ripe, they never fall 
off like fir-cones, but the scales become loosened, 
and then the first high wind detaches them. In 
this manner the winged seeds are released and 
carried far and wide. 

It is thought that my cedars are about a 
hundred and forty years old. The trunk of the 
largest one measures sixteen feet in girth, and 



THE CEDAR OF LEBANON 133 

standing beneath it, and looking up at the massive 
branches, one is filled with reverent wonder at 
the growth of such a tree. Springing as it did 
from a tiny seed, which simply fed upon the soil 
and drank in the rain of heaven, in a hundred 




SEEDLING CEDAR. 

years to what a majestic growth has it attained ! 
Such is the expansive power of vegetable life. 

I believe the exact date of the introduction of 
the cedar into England is not known. Many very 
ancient trees of magnificent growth exist in 
various parks throughout our country, but they 



134 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

sink into insignificance when compared with those 
still growing on Mount Lebanon. The girth of 
the largest there is more than forty-one feet, the 
height about a hundred feet. As to the age of 
these specimens, estimates differ. Some travellers 
aver that they have probably been growing ever 
since the Flood, others seem to have good ground 
for believing that the older specimens must be 
over three thousand years old. 

Cedars still growing in the Chelsea garden first 
produced cones in 1766; the seed proved fertile, 
and from that time the tree has been extensively 
planted in England, and adds dignity to many 
an ancient garden throughout our land. 

The peculiar horizontal growth of the cedar of 
Lebanon is admirably described by Dr, Thomson. 1 
" The branches are thrown out horizontally from 
the parent trunk. These again part into limbs, 
which preserve the same horizontal direction, and 
so on down to the minutest twigs, and even the 
arrangement of the clustered leaves has the same 
general tendency. Climb into one, and you are 
delighted with a succession of verdant floors 
spread around the trunk, and gradually narrowing 
as you ascend. The beautiful cones seem to stand 
upon, or rise out of, this green flooring." 

1 "The Land and the Book," by W. M. Thomson, D.D. 



THE CEDAR OF LEBANON 135 

This level method of growth renders the cedar 
liable to continual injury in severe winters. The 




THE CEDAR OK LEBANON. 
(Very greatly reduced. ) 



softly falling snow piles up upon the branches 
and lays such a burden upon them that at last 
the strain is too great, and they break off one 



136 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

after another until the symmetrical beauty of the 
tree is ruined. 

During the severe gales of March, 1899, a huge 
branch was broken off one of the cedars, and when 
examining the mutilated tree we found that this 
particular branch must have been slightly wrenched 
from the trunk some years before, although the 
injury was not visible to any one standing beneath 
the tree. Slight as the severance was, it allowed 
rain-water to collect in the cavity amongst the 
splintered wood. The presence of this moisture 
inside the tree stimulated the formation of aerial 
roots, and these roots, in large quantities, were 
revealed when the limb was torn from the trunk. 
From the position of the long matted roots, it 
was seen how wonderfully they had helped to 
hold the ponderous branch in its almost horizontal 
position, and also how they had served to supply 
water to the injured branch, by absorbing the 
rain deposit, which, if left in the injured wood, 
would have caused decay. 

The female blossom, which results in the cone, 
is only produced at intervals of a few years, but 
the male pollen-bearing catkin usually appears in 
considerable quantities every year in late autumn. 

It is not often possible to find the very young 
cones within reach, as they are apt to be produced 



138 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

more freely on the upper and inaccessible branches. 
I therefore had to wait fifteen years before I could 
obtain a specimen from which to complete my 
drawing of cedar flowers. 

The beetle which appears in the sketch is the 
beautiful Calosonia sycophanta, which, although 
rarely found in England, abounds on the Conti- 
nent to such an extent that at night the fir-woods, 
when explored with a lantern, are found to be 
swarming with these beetles pursuing their bene- 
ficent work, destroying other insects which prey 
upon the fir-tree. The Rev. J. G. Wood says, 1 
" It is impossible to calculate the benefits which 
this beautiful insect confers upon the countries 
in which it lives, and it is not too much to say 
that but for the Calosonia the fir-tree would be 
extinct in many of those places from which we 
derive our chief stores of timber. Both in the 
perfect and larval condition this beetle is carni- 
vorous, feeding upon the destructive caterpillars 
of the procession ary and gipsy moths and also 
upon the pine saw-fly, the creatures which do most 
harm to the forest." 

I possess a specimen of the Ca/osoma, and truly 
it is " a thing of beauty," of a rich golden green 
shot with iridescent gleams of other colours as 
1 *" Insects at Home," p. 37. 




CEDAR SPRAY WITH CAI.OSOMA SYCCfPHANTA 



140 QUIET- HOURS U7TH NATURE 

one holds it in different lights. The first recorded 
British specimen was captured at Alrlborough by 
Crabbe, the poet. I may mention that the cedar- 
wood used for pencils is obtained from Juniperus 
virginiana, an American tree which yields a soft, 
agreeably scented wood, not only suitable for 
pencils, but much in request for small cabinets, 
boxes, matches, and other purposes. 

Pliny makes mention of the imperishable nature 
of cedar-wood. A temple of Apollo at Utica, in 
Northern Africa, being built of it, was found to be 
perfectly sound after two thousand years. 

When we read in Scripture that King Solomon 
employed eighty thousand "hewers in the moun- 
tains," we can picture to some extent the busy 
scene as the huge cedars were felled and brought 
down from Lebanon, then formed into rafts and 
floated by sea to the landing-place, where the 
Sidonians would hew and fashion them into material 
for the building of the temple (i Kings v. 6). 

Many years ago there was an exhibition of a 
most interesting nature at the Egyptian Hall. It 
consisted of the articles found during excavations 
in underground Jerusalem at a depth of eighty 
feet, where Solomon's temple originally stood. Of 
all the remarkable things exhibited, I think I was 
most impressed at seeing some of the beautifully 



THE CEDAR OF LEBANON 141 

carved cedar-work of the Temple, portions of it 
quite perfect, and other pieces of it blackened and 
charred by the fire which destroyed that mar- 
vellous building. 

It would be an interesting exercise for young 
students to gather all the Scripture references to 
the cedar of Lebanon, and observe how it was used 
as an emblem of growth (Psa. xcii. 12), of power 
and strength (Job xl. 17), of sweetness (Hosea xiv. 7, 
Lebanon being a synonym for cedar), of stability 
(Hosea xiv. 5), and, combined with hyssop, the 
wood was used in offerings for purification 
(Lev. xiv. 4). 

The delicious balsamic odour of cedar-groves 
and pine-woods arises from an essential oil which 
permeates the leaves and timber, and exhales 
under the warmth of summer sunshine. This oil 
is said to have been used in ancient times to 
smear over the leaves of papyrus to prevent their 
destruction by insects, just as we still put cedar 
shavings amongst our furs to repel the destructive 
moths. Much more might be said about " these 
trees of the Lord," but space will not permit. 
Let us ever regard them with reverence, not only 
for their own intrinsic grandeur and beauty, but 
because they are linked in so many aspects with 
Bible teachings. 



THE LARCH 

(Larix europcea?} 
" When rosy plumelets tuft the larch." TEXXYSOX. 

A TENDER veil of green beginning to appear 
upon our favourite larch-tree is one of the 
earliest tokens of the coming spring. The tree 
stands on rising ground in full view of our win- 
dows, so that we can watch its re-leafing and the 
gradual deepening of tint from the pale cold green 
of early spring through all its rich summer beauty 
until the fawn colour of autumn tells us that it 
will soon be shorn of its soft foliage by the wintry 
gales. 

Writers appear to differ in their estimate of the 
beauty of this tree. 

Wordsworth has no good word to say for it, and 
condemns it as lacking in dignity, in colour and in 
the power of affording shade. Other poets seem 
to dislike the crudity of its early tints, but, in the 




THE LARCH IN \\IMKR. 



[.7. Lavrsucli 



144 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

infinite variety we see in the woods, surely the 
charm arises from the blending of many shades of 
the same colour into an harmonious whole. 

Usually the larch has a single central stem from 
which the branches depend on all sides, but our 
tree is an exception to the general rule, for, at 
four feet from the ground, it divides, and the two 
tall stems rise to an equal height and size. They 
are chained together near the top lest in some 
severe gale they might be split asunder, and the 
tree would then become a wreck. 

The larch was introduced into England from 
the Continent in 1629. 

About the beginning of the last century the 
then Duke of Atholl planted thousands of acres 
of mountain land with young larch-trees, which 
have now become forests of timber valuable for 
shipbuilding. Being a tree that will grow rapidly 
on almost any soil, and even at an elevation of 
eighteen hundred feet above the sea, the larch is 

o 

naturally selected as one of the most suitable for 
clothing barren hills with verdure. In the course 
of fifty years the plantations attain the height of 
fifty feet or upwards. 

My own specimen is, we think, about seventy- 
five feet high, and at five feet from the ground it 
measures sixteen feet round the stem. Like so 



THE LARCH 145 

many of the trees in this place its lower branches 
rest upon the ground, showing how undisturbed 
its growth has been from its early youth. It is 
curious to trace the course of its huge knotted 
roots, which spread themselves across a gravel 
path and then along the surface of the lawn, in- 
dicating the way in which, in order to resist the 
force of our wintry storms, the tree has firmly 
anchored itself in the ground. 

Larch bark, is used in Switzerland for tanning 
leather, and the leaves and young shoots afford 
food for cattle. It is a useful tree in other ways, 
as its sap yields Venice turpentine, much in 
demand by painters for making varnish. Early 
in the year an incision is made in the trunk about 
three feet from the ground, and into this a trough 
is fixed so that the sap runs into a tub placed 
below. The turpentine is clear at first, but it 
thickens after a time and becomes of a citron 
colour ; it possesses the useful quality of not be- 
coming hard by exposure to the air, at any rate 
not for a considerable time. I have often observed 
a white exudation on the leaves of my larch, and I 
feared it might prove to be a parasitic fungus of 
some destructive kind, but I have now discovered 
that it is the nature of the tree to throw out a 
sweet sugary substance which in former days used 

ii 



146 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

to be collected from the larch forests at Briancon 
in Dauphiny, and sold under the name of Briancon 
manna ; this was supposed to have some medicinal 
value. 

The late Mr. Daniel Hanbury paid a visit to 
Briancon in 1857 to inquire into the production of 
this special manna. After considerable search he 
speaks of finding " here and there upon the foliage 
of the trees a little tear of white sugary matter 
encrusting the needle-like leaves." A peasant 
informed him that the manna was only found in 
the cool of the morning, and that the season for it 
was then almost over. 1 " Subsequently to this, 
however, M. Berthelot chemically examined this 
exudation, and found it to contain a peculiar 
variety of sugar which he designated Melezitose, 
a word derived from mtteze, the French name for 
larch." 

The larch ripens its seeds freely in Great 
Britain, and is raised by Scotch nurserymen in 
larger numbers than any other forest tree. The 
timber is compact, is reddish brown in colour, and 
takes a beautiful polish so as to become almost 
translucent. It has the excellent property of 
hardening with age ; this is perhaps the reason 
why old painters used it more than any other 
1 " Science Papers," by Daniel Hanbury, F.R.S. 




La'crsiuh. 



HOARFROST ON LARCH. 



148 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

wood to paint on before the use of canvas became 
general. Many of Raphael's pictures are painted 
on boards of larch. 

The wood is much in request for shipbuilding, 
railway sleepers, and house carpentry ; it catches 
fire with difficulty and does not splinter even 
when struck by a cannon-ball. 

The month of April brings amongst other signs 
of spring the exquisite blossom of the larch sprays. 
The small crimson waxy cones appear before the 
tender leafage, and are fertilised by the yellow 
pollen-bearing catkins. A few weeks later the 
cones, half hidden by the leaves, have faded to a 
pale pink colour ; they continue to increase in 
size, and in a year's time they will be found to be 
hard and brown, and to have shed out their small 
winged seeds upon the ground. 

I often see a little floek of golden-crested wrens 
flitting in and but amongst the larch branches, 
feeding on minute insects. These agile little. birds 
hang head downwards or side-ways, peering into 
every tuft of foliage, keeping up all the while a 
musical twittering to each other, till one flies off 
to another tree, when all the rest obediently follow 
and renew their search for insect prey. 

This smallest of our English birds stays with us 
through the coldest winter, and is amongst the 




LARCH BLOSSOM AND WREN. 



15 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

earliest nest-builders, for the call-note of the male 
bird may be heard in February, and young birds 
have been seen fully fledged in April. 

I will conclude with a curious fact about the 
larch leaves which I find recorded in the "Treasury 
of Botany." " Round some of the meres or lakes 
in Shropshire the larch is abundantly planted. 
Its leaves fall into the water, and become felted 
together into large ball-like masses by the agency 
of a peculiar species of conferva. These larch balls 
may be met with of all sizes, from that of a marble 
to that of a child's head ; they lie at the bottom of 
the lake and are washed up round its margins." 



THE BIRCH ' 

(Be tula alba.*) 

" I find myself beneath a weeping birch, most beautiful 
of forest trees, the Lady of the Woods." COLEKIDGE. 

ABOUT five and twenty years ago our Stan- 
more Common was thickly overgrown with 
gorse, and each spring it was one of my special 
pleasures to watch the golden sheen of the furze 
blossoms spreading over more than two hundred 
acres of undulating ground. 

Here and there, through stretches of woodland, 
the rich colour melted away into blue distances 
with exquisite effect. Then was the time to enjoy 
what Coleridge describes as " the fruitlike perfume 
of the golden furze." A passing breeze would 

1 Loudon derives the name from the Latin word batuerc, 
to beat ; from the fasces of the Roman lictors which were 
always made of birch rods, being used to drive back the 
people. 



i.S2 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

bring those exquisite wafts of scent which seem 
to be the very breath of nature, health-giving and 
life-inspiring. 

It was very difficult to leave such an enchanting 
spot, and many a happy ramble have I enjoyed 
on our common as it used to be, but alas ! all 
is now entirely changed. Year after year fires 
broke out, and large portions of the common 
were laid waste by them. Nevertheless the gorse 
would revive and spring up again, until at length 
a fiercer fire than usual consumed even the roots 
of the furze beyond recovery. 

After a few years the dreary waste began to 
be covered by low green bushes, which we dis- 
covered to be young birch-trees, springing up in 
countless numbers. 

It will always remain a mystery how the seed 
was sown ; it can only be conjectured that a high 
wind must have swept over some birch-trees in 
the adjacent Priory woods just when the seed 
was ripe, and conveyed and distributed it over 
the common. 

Thus in the course of five and twenty years we 
have exchanged our sweep of furze for clustering 
birch woods, and although there is no denying 
the delicate beauty of the young plantations, 
especially in their early spring foliage, still I shall 



/ in ~c 




WEEPING BIRCH AND YEW-TREE SEAT. 



154' QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

always long to enjoy again the rich colour and 
perfume of our former surroundings. 

About thirty years ago we planted on our 
bowling green a weeping birch to overshadow 
a quaint old yew-tree, clipped after the fashion 
of olden days into the shape of an arm-chair. 
Resting in this rural seat, one can enjoy, to the 
north, a wide-strefeching view which ranges over 
several counties, with St. Alban's Abbey clearly 
visible upon the distant horizon. The delicate 
birch sprays, supported by a slight iron frame- 
work, form a perfect canopy sheltering one from 
the sun's rays and yet allowing refreshing breezes 
to pass through them. In strong contrast to this 
tree is a slender birch near my entrance-lodge, 
which answers somewhat to the poet's epithet 
of the "lady of the woods." In some forty years 
it has been drawn up to a height of about seventy 
feet while retaining a girth of not more than four 
feet six inches at three feet from the ground. 
Situated as it is amongst surrounding trees, it 
has been compelled to reach upwards to obtain 
all possible light and air ; hence the slender girth 
of its attenuated stem, whilst the grafted weeping 
birch which shades the yew-tree seat, having 
abundant light and space, has thrown its energies 
into wide-spreading branches, and in thirty years 




. Lcrcrsucli. 



BIRCH-TREE IX A WOOD. 



156 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

has scarcely added more than three feet to its 
height. 

I may here suggest that it much increases the 
interest of a country ramble to notice the in- 
fluence of environment upon the mode of growth 
in trees. 

When they are planted too closely together 
in a group, they are apt to become one-sided, 
whilst those in the open ground are symmetrical 
because the branches can expand on all sides, 
each receiving its due proportion of air and 
light. 

Trees growing on an exposed sea-coast are 
often painfully crooked, all bent in one direction 
by the force of the prevailing winds. 

Another point of interest is the clearly marked 
difference between trees in fields where cattle 
browse upon the foliage as high as they can 
reach, thus forming a clear space with only tree- 
trunks, and the far more beautiful effect where, 
in enclosed parks, the ancient trees can rest their 
uninjured branches upon the ground. 

To the lover of nature these things are full of 
interest, since they reveal to intelligent eyes the 
influences which have created the kind of wood- 
land or forest scenery we may be exploring. 

The birch, although a native of Britain, is 



THE niRCH 157 

essentially a northern tree, flourishing in the 
colder regions of Europe and Asia. 

In Scotland it clothes the bleak mountain sides, 
and is found at an elevation of 3,500 feet. 

In Italy it exists at even 6,000 feet above the 
sea, but it becomes smaller in proportion to the 
cold it has to bear and the altitude at which it 
grows, until it is dwarfed to the dimensions of 
a small green bush. . 

Birch-wood is white with tinges of red, and 
is considered to be of fairly lasting quality. 

An old specimen of one of these trees was 
blown down here in a winter's gale, and, not 
being required for timber, the rather rugged stem 
was cut into short lengths, placed end-wise, and, 
combined with tree-roots and ivy, formed a quaint 
sort of fencing around an ancient well. 

After some years I saw for myself what I had 
often been told about the durability of birch-bark. 

The inside wood decayed and fell away, leaving 
the outer bark standing like a hollow cylinder 
which might have been filled with earth and used 
as a flower vase. 

In Swedish Lapland the bark is cut into tiles 
for the house-roofs, and it is said that in times 
of scarcity the poor people grind the bark into 
a kind of flour to mix with their bread-corn. 



158 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

Loudon, speaking of this tree, says, " The High- 
landers of Scotland make everything of it ; they 
build their houses, make their beds, chairs, tables, 
dishes and spoons, construct their mills, make 
their carts, ploughs, harrows, gates, and fences, 
and even manufacture ropes of it. The branches 
are employed as fuel in the distillation of whisky ; 
the spray is used for smoking hams and herrings, 
for which last purpose it is preferred to every 
other kind of wood. The bark is used for tanning 
leather, and sometimes, when dried and twisted 
into a rope, instead of candles. The twigs are 
used for thatching houses, and, dried in summer 
with the leaves on, make a good bed where heath 
is scarce." 

In Russia an oil is extracted from the birch 
which is used in the preparation of Russia leather. 
In England birch-woods are chiefly valuable as 
supplying material for sweeping . brooms. 

A curious feature . of the birch is the nestlike 
structures so frequently to be seen upon these 
trees and also on the hornbeam. These are really 
huge bunches of abortive twigs, some quite dead 
others with a little life left. They are caused by 
the presence in the buds of numbers of a minute 
gall-insect known as Eriophyes rudis, which is 
allied to the troublesome little parasites the acari. 




BIRCH-BARK WIGWAM AND CANOE. 



160 QUIET HOURS ifrlTH NATURE 

These small creatures concentrate on some 
point, and by continually living upon the sap of 
the twig they destroy the buds and produce the 
masses of woody growth shown in the illustration, 
which are popularly known as witches' brooms. 
Some trees on this estate are infested to such a 
degree with these galls as to look, in the distance, 
like a rookery, whilst others are only slightly 
affected. The parasite does not appear to injure 
the tree to any great extent, as some of the most 
infected trees are quite robust. 

I must not omit to mention the useful paper- 
birch from which the Canadians form their canoes. 

The pieces of bark are stitched firmly together 
with deer's sinews, or with the fibrous roots of the 
white spruce, and the seams being coated with 
resin, they are rendered water-tight, and so 
portable are they that they are easily carried on 
men's shoulders from one lake to another. 

A canoe which can hold four persons only 
weighs about forty or fifty pounds. 

The bark can be divided into very thin layers, 
and these make an excellent substitute for paper. 
I possess a sheet of it as thin as ordinary note- 
paper, and as easy to write upon. 

" A strip of pinky-silver skin 
Peeled from the birchen-bark." 



THE BIRCH \ ft i 

We can easily distinguish the two kinds of 
catkins on the birch. The pistil-bearing flower 
is small and upright, whilst the male blossom 
hangs down and bears the pollen in its bracts. 
Towards the autumn we shall find that the small 
catkin, which in spring is erect, has become 
pendant and composed entirely of minute seeds, 
which autumnal gales will carry faf and wide. 

Evelyn discourses at great length upon the 
medical properties of the wine which used formerly 
to be made from the abundant sap of the birch- 
tree. It rises in the stem earl}- in April, and it is 
said that from sixteen to eighteen gallons of it can 
be drawn from a single tree. 

When boiled with honey, cloves, and lemon peel 
and afterwards fermented with yeast, this sap pro- 
duced a beverage of great strength, whjch was 
credited with many virtues. 

Space will not allow me to touch upon further 
uses of this tree, which is not only remarkable for 
its elegance, but also for its adaptation to many 
purposes in our daily life. 



HOURS IN MY GARDEN 



INMATES OF MY GARDEN 

AS I watch the peaceful and yet highly 
amusing scenes which greet me from my 
window day by day, I am often tempted to 
describe them. The wild creatures in this place 
have been led to give me their society and 
confidence as the result of more than thirty 
years of persistent kindness and encouragement. 
In the nature of things in this changing world 
it cannot often happen that so long a period can 
be secured wherein to carry out a settled purpose, 
and on this account my experiences may possess 
a certain interest for the general reader. The 
quietness of a large, well-wooded garden with 
fields and woods beyond, the avoidance of perse- 
cution, and abundance of food suited to the 
requirements of animals and birds these have 
been the means used to attract my furred and 

feathered guests. 

165 



1 66 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

Generations of squirrels have grown up in the 
firm belief that the dining-room window is the 
place where nuts are always to be found, and 
there they troop, winter and summer, to delight 
us with their graceful frolics. When the weather 
will permit the windows to be open, we are enter- 
tained with glimpses into squirrel life, such as 
can seldom be obtained except in the tree-tops. 
From the window-sill our little guests leap on to 
a table where my cardinal-bird's cage stands. He 
is quite used to their springing up and stealing 
his juicy grape or piece of apple. He accepts the 
affront without so much as a flutter, for he knows 
his loss will be supplied ere long. If their nuts 
are all eaten, the little thieves will then run over 
the carpet to a corner cupboard where they well 
know a certain box filled with Barcelonas is to be 
found, and, without leave asked or given, they 
leap into it, and as they sit amongst the nuts, we 
hear them cracking the shells and flinging them 
about in reckless fashion. 

One or two more hungry waifs arrive, and then 
there follows a battle royal. With angry growls 
there is probably a furious chase around the dining- 
table, and out go the combatants through the 
window, across the lawn and up the grey trunk 
of the tulip-tree, around which they dart with 
quite wonderful agility. 



INMATES OF MY GARDEN 167 

In the spruce fir, close to the window, all this 
time the grey nuthatches sit awaiting their share 
of the good things. When their turn comes they 
balance nut after nut in methodical fashion to 
make sure that they are of good quality ; then 
away they go to the large oak-trees near by, 
whose rugged bark affords the crevices into which 
they ram the nuts firmly, so that, head down- 
wards, they can hammer at the shells until they 
reach the contents. Meanwhile, the tit family 
have been feasting on fat of various kinds in their 
hanging-basket. We see four species the greater 
tit, the blue tit, the cole tit, and the marsh tit, 
charming birds all of them, with their pert, fussy 
little ways and angry tempers. Can there be 
anything more fascinating than an irate blue tit ? 
The feathered morsel sets up his little crest, opens 
his beak, outstretches his tiny wings, and, having 
made the most of himself, is prepared to defy 
a bird twice his own size. As a matter of fact, he 
does generally succeed in thus holding his own, by 
dint of bravery and sheer impudence combined. 

Now we see, stealing quietly across the lawn, a 
troop of ten or more hen pheasants, meek, gentle 
creatures that were born in the spinney just beyond 
the carriage drive and have grown up into the 
traditions of this place. 



168 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

They have learned that peace and happiness 
abide here, that October has no terrors for them, 
that no gun will ever be pointed at them ; and so 
they enjoy their lives in safety, and give me their 
gentle companionship all the winter and spring 
until family duties call them to the woods to make 
their nests and rear their downy broods. These 
broods will in turn be led here for me to see next 
winter. These pheasants are a constant delight to 
me, they are so graceful in their manners, and 
almost as tame as barn-door fowls. 

Now there comes a lordly ' cock-pheasant, 
magnificent in bronze and gold plumage. It is 
delightful to watch his chivalrous behaviour to the 
ladies of his harem. If he finds- a nice morsel of 
bread or cake, he calls and waits for them to come 
and enjoy it ; in fact, he has always the air of 
being quite above such a sublunary thing as food, 
or rather, as if he merely looked on with no special 
interest in the matter. This, however, is not the 
case in severe weather. Then the gorgeous creature 
is glad enough to share the sopped bread with his 
ladies. 

A curious little scene was enacted between a 
group of pheasants and Merops, my tame rook, 
one frosty day this winter. All were alike hungry, 
and the rook, failing to get at the bread, delibe- 



INMATES OF MY GARDEN 169 

rately stalked up to a cock-pheasant and pulled 
his tail. Of course, the aggrieved bird whisked 
round with a sharp peck in return, but none the 
less kept guard over the bread. Again the rook 
tried vainly to edge himself in ; the birds kept in 
a sort of ring-fence and busily devoured the food. 
Merops then approached a hen-bird and seized her 
tail, with a better result, for she simply raised her 
head to consider in a dreamy sort of way what 
could have happened to her tail. This was 
Merops's chance ; away he went with the coveted 
piece of bread, which he had certainly earned by 
the exercise of his wits. 

This charming flock of tame pheasants can be 
seen at intervals all through the day in winter 
and spring, pacing about upon the lawn, running 
swiftly (and pheasants can run) from one place to 
another, never seeming to disagree among them- 
selves, giving life and interest to the garden, 
and, wise birds ! they have learned to keep inside 
this estate, and so they escape the guns and snares 
that might await them elsewhere. 

In a certain valley of azaleas, quite near the 
house, a fine male fox is known to abide, he also 
having found out that this place is a sanctuary for 
all living creatures. We happen to know that his 
mate, or vixen, has her home in a hollow pollard 



170 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

ash-tree in one of my fields. She goes in and out 
through a small hole in the trunk of the tree, and 
there no doubt she intends to rear her family of 
cubs in due season. 

One day the male fox was scared by hearing the 
horn of the hunters near by on the common. He 
very unwisely left his valley, and was sighted and 
pursued by the hounds. His course had to be 
across the field where his vixen lay, but he steered 
wide of her tree and led the hounds a merry run 
of forty minutes' duration as fast as the horses 
could go. Strange to say, he was seen stealthily 
returning to his retreat in the valley after an 
incredibly short space of time. He had baffled 
'the hounds, and had taken short cuts across the 
country, so that he was home before even a fleet 
horse could have accomplished the distance. 

There is a black sheep in every flock, and I am 
obliged to confess that we have tamed one very 
undesirable visitant. A persistent rat has all this 
winter taken its share of the provisions which 
are daily scattered for more deserving folk. 
Personally, I have no objection to his presence, 
but he steals the food, laying it up in stores in his 
hole and amongst the ivy branches ; he bullies the 
sweet little squirrels, and scares away many of the 
birds we desire to attract. 



172 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

There is a gruesome sequel to the history of this 
rat ! Some months after I had written this paper, 
the rat, which had in a marvellous way eluded every 
attempt made upon its life, suddenly disappeared. 
The squirrels and birds fed once more in peace, 
and we rejoiced in the hope that the "black sheep" 
had met his fate in some way, although we could 
not trace his end. Time passed and we had almost 
forgotten the rat incident, when one of the servants 
complained of a dreadful odour in her bedroom. 
Careful search was made in an attic loft above,- but 
nothing was visible except the huge starlings' nests 
which we knew existed there. The room and the 
attic were disinfected and fresh air let in, but still 
the odour continued. 

A second visit was paid to the loft ; some boards 
were taken up and, by the aid of a strong search- 
light, the huge swollen body of a dead rat was 
discovered. Strewn around it were the heads, feet, 
and feathers of no fewer than eighteen starlings ! 

On these the creature must have lived and 
gloated until it came to an end of its bird supplies. 
Why it elected to die in the loft instead of making 
its escape through the way by which it arrived 
there will always remain a mystery. 

The servant remembered sometimes hearing 
birds screaming in the night, but knowing that 



INMATES OF MY GARDEN 173 

starlings were in the habit of roosting in the attic 
she thought they were fighting amongst them- 
selves. She did not happen to speak of the 
circumstance, else I should have suspected that 
some evil deeds were going on overhead. 

Little did I think that we possessed such a 
"chamber of horrors." Each night this hateful 
rat must have claimed its victim from amongst 
the sleeping birds, all powerless as they were in 
the dark either to escape or to repel their deadly 
enemy. 

This little sketch of my happy animals and 
birds will, I hope, lead others to share in the great 
pleasure which their companionship affords. If we 
will reach out to them, the gentle creatures will 
readily respond to kindness ; indeed, I believe the 
pleasure is mutual, and that the wild denizens of 
our fields and woods only wait to know that they 
are safe and welcome to come forward and enjoy 
being with us as our friends. 



EARLY MORNING NATURE- 
STUDY 

TO a true lover of nature hardly anything can 
be more thoroughly enjoyable than a quiet 
hour spent in some shady spot early on a summer's 
morning, whilst the dew is still upon the flowers, 
and before any sounds can be heard except those 
made by happy birds and insects. 

In my garden there is a little dell embowered 
by trees, where I often spend an hour or two 
before breakfast for the special purpose of enjoy- 
ing the company of my pet wild creatures. 

On one side are five arches, formed possibly 
some hundreds of years ago, since the great stones 
are grey with age and picturesquely moss-grown 
and ivy-clad. Young trees, too, are growing here 
and there out of the crevices into which the wind 
has wafted their seeds. 

In an open space before me are groups of 

'74 



1 7^ QUIET HOL'RS WITH NATURE 

stately foxgloves of every tint, ranging from 
purple through rose-colour to pure white. Some 
of them have stems fully seven feet in height, each 
bearing not fewer than a hundred and forty, or 
fifty flowers. 

Not only amongst these foxgloves, but in the 
lime branches overhead innumerable bees keep up 
a continuous murmuring sound as they busily 
gather their morning store of honey. 

Various tall grasses are sending up their 
feathery plumes, and in a special bed where only 
wild flowers are allowed to grow, teasel, hypericum, 
valerian, and bog-myrtle are -delighting my eyes 
by the free, graceful way in which they make 
themselves at home as if in their native habitat. 

Under one of the arches the birds always find 
an abundance of food, which I strew for them 
several times in the day. 

There I see young blackbirds, chaffinches, 
hedge-sparrows, wrens, and titmice feasting and 
flitting about, quite regardless of my presence. 
One advantage of this retreat is that no house- 
sparrows come here to annoy the more timid 
birds. 

The quietness and peace of this secluded spot is 
in marked contrast to the scenes I witness near 
the house. There sparrows reign supreme. The}- 



EARLY MORNING NATURE-STUDY 177 

come down in flocks to gorge themselves and their 
offspring upon the sopped bread, rudely driving 
away many other kinds of birds that I would fain 
encourage. 

It may be observed that I have not spoken of 
robins feeding under the archway, because only 
one haunts this spot, and he is my special pet, and 
elects to sit on a bough close to me warbling his 
sweet low song, and occasionally accepting some 
choice morsel from my hand. 

When he was a brown-coated youngster I began 
to feed and attract him, and in one week he gained 
so much confidence as, to alight on my hand. 

He is now my devoted adherent, flying to meet 
me in different parts of the garden as soon as he 
hears my voice. 

I am much interested, and I think he is also, in 
the development of the little scarlet waistcoat 
which marks his arrival at maturity. I saw the 
first red feather appear, just a mere tinge of colour 
amongst the rest, and now daily I see the hue is 
deepening. If bathing and pluming will tend to 
make him a handsome robin, he bids fair to out- 
shine his compeers, for he is always busy about his 
toilet, first fluttering into a large clam-shell, which 
contains water, and then becoming absorbed in 
his preening operations, which nothing will inter- 

13 



17* OI T IET HOURS }\ 1 I'll NATURE 

rupt but the appearance of another robin, who, of 
course, must be flown at and driven away. 

Birds, however, are not my only visitors. Some 
tame voles or field-mice creep stealthily in and out 
of the rockwork and find their way to the birds' 
feeding-ground, where they also enjoy the seeds 
and coarse oatmeal, and amuse me much with 
their graceful play and occasional scrimmages. 
Field-mice are easily tamed and made happy in 
captivity. 

Last year I coaxed a pair of these voles into a 
large glass globe, and kept them long enough to 
observe sundry family events, such as nest-build- 
ing, the arrival of some baby-voles, and their 
development from small pink infants into full- 
grown mice, and then I set the whole family at 
liberty under the archway, where they now disport 
themselves with all the confidence of privileged 
rodents. 

By remaining absolutely still for an hour or two, 
quietly reading or thinking, one has delightful 
opportunities of seeing rare birds quite at their 
ease. 

A green woodpecker, all unconscious of nix- 
presence, is clinging to an old tree stem near by, 
and I can not only hear his tapping noise, but I 
am able to observe how he is supported by the 



EARLY MORNING NATURE-STUDY 179 

stiff feathers in his tail, which press against the 
tree, and how his long tongue darts into crevices 
in the bark and draws out the insects upon which 
he feeds. 

I follow his upward progress around the stem 
until he flies away with the loud laughing cry 
which has earned for him the local name of 
Yaffle. 

Hawfinches are by no means common in this 
neighbourhood, but one morning I was much 
interested in being able to watch three or four of 
these birds, which had alighted on the top of 
a spruce fir in this dell. Their golden-brown 
plumage glistened brightly as they busily flitted 
from branch to branch, snapping off small fir- 
sprays with their powerful beaks, and chattering 
to each other all the while like diminutive parrots. 

Now the early morning sun is sending shafts of 
brilliant light through the thick foliage, and bring- 
ing out special objects in high relief. 

Just beside me is a large mass of grey stone, 
moss-grown and fern-shaded. The sun has lighted 
up one side of this ; the rest is in shadow, so that 
it forms a picture in itself, and my robin has 
alighted on it as though on purpose to give the 
touch of colour that was needed. 

All my readers may not have so sweet a spot in 



i8o QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

which to study nature, but I do strongly commend 
to them the delight of a quiet time spent alone 
out-of-doors in the early morning. 

The air is then so pure and fresh that it seems 
to invigorate one's mind no less than one's body, 
and in the country the sights and sounds are such 
as tend to helpful thoughts of the love and 
goodness of the Creator Who has blessed us with 
so much to make us happy, if only we will open 
our eyes and hearts to see and understand the 
works of His hands. 



CHANCE GLIMPSES OF NATURE 

SOME of the most delightful experiences of 
the naturalist are those which arise from 
the stolen glimpses of nature which are sometimes 
attainable. 

We happen to be in a quiet spot, it may be, 
observing a plant or moss which has caught our 
attention, when out steals some shy creature, 
which possibly we have never seen before, and 
disports itself in charming unconsciousness of our 
presence. 

Only a true naturalist knows what a joy this 
is, how we scarcely breathe and dare not move 
an inch for fear of losing this glimpse of a wild 
creature perfectly at ease and therefore free to 
display its gestures, habits and occupations. 

Such a glimpse I had lately of the green wood- 
pecker (Picus viridis), and of the far rarer lesser- 
spotted woodpecker (Picus minor). Even the "Son 
of the Marshes " says in one of his books that he 

181 



1 82 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

has watched for hours and failed to catch sight of 
the latter bird, even though he knew it was at work 
upon the tree beneath which he lay concealed. 

It so happened that I was standing quietly 
behind some thick branches when by chance these 
two shy birds flew into a great Scotch fir close 
by and began creeping up the stem in the full 
sunlight. I had a rare opportunity of noting their 
beautiful plumage and the very remarkable way in 
which the lesser-spotted woodpecker makes the 
loud jarring noise which resounds through the 
woods in spring. 

Its beak seemed to be inserted in a crevice in 
the bark and then shaken backwards and forwards 
with indescribable rapidity. I saw it done and 
yet could hardly believe my eyes, the action 
seemed so inadequate to produce the volume of 
sound which resulted from it. 

The green woodpecker went to work in a busi- 
ness-like manner, tapping the bark and jerking 
this way and that in his upward progress, but all 
too soon the birds caught sight of me and glided 
swiftly away, leaving me entranced, with a fresh 
woodland vignette engraven upon my memory. 

Although we constantly hear the curious jarring 
sound of the fern-owl or goatsucker in the summer 
evenings, and not unfrequently catch a glimpse of 



1 84 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

the bird flitting from tree to tree in pursuit of 
insects, it is yet difficult to learn much about the 
life-history of so shy a bird. 

The night-jar only appears in the dusky light of 
evening, and as it nests on the ground on heaths 
and commons, there is no possibility of seeing the 
young birds being fed, or of observing any of the 
domestic traits which we delight to watch in the 
robins, sparrows and chaffinches that flock around 
our houses. 

Fortune, however, favoured me this year, and 
afforded me an opportunity of becoming intimately 
acquainted with the goatsucker and its habits. 

Early in July I was told that a night-jar and her 
two fledglings had been picked up on the common 
and brought to me. I went to the aviary and found 
the mother-bird sitting motionless on the ground 
as if she had been stunned by some idle lad 
throwing a stone at her. The young birds were 
fully feathered ; a quaint-looking couple they 
were, seated side by side, as stolid and motionless 
as their mother. When, however, I approached 
them, they hissed like snakes and opened mouths 
of such portentous size that I can only describe 
them as pink caverns. I never saw any creatures 
so grotesque as these youngsters were ; no doubt 
they were terror-stricken at my appearance, and 



CHANCE GLIMPSES OF NATURE 185 

hoped to frighten me away by making themselves 
as formidable as possible. 

Knowing that in all probability they were 
famishing, I obtained some scraped raw meat and 
with great difficulty forcibly opened the huge 
beaks and fed the poor little waifs. They then 
nestled close to each other, and shutting their 
great black eyes contentedly went to sleep. 

I now returned to the aviary prepared to act the 
part of good Samaritan to the mother ; but, to 
my utter surprise, she rose from the ground and 
flew swiftly out at the open door, away across the 
lawn and out of sight. 

I suppose she had been but slightly stunned, and 
in any case I was glad to find her able to fly, for 
the care and feeding of an old bird, unaccustomed 
to captivity, is no light matter. 

Now I began to realise that I had a pair of 
orphans on my hands ; the young night-jars could 
by no means feed themselves, and I could not 
devise any way by which I could bring them again 
under their mother's care. I must needs therefore 
undertake their upbringing, for a time at any rate. 

In the intervals of reading in the early morning 
I had a quiet time in which to study these curious 
birds and note their peculiarities whilst they 
thought themselves free and unobserved. 



1 86 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

From the shape of their remarkably flat heads I 
anticipated that they possessed but a low degree 
of intelligence, and I had no reason to alter my 
supposition, for the two birds would remain just 
where I placed them on the floor, scarcely moving 
for perhaps half an hour. When an idea did occur 
to them, they would begin to sway their bodies 
backwards and forwards like little boats on a 
stormy sea ; this would go on with increasing 
vigour for three or four minutes till they were 
worked up to carry out their idea, which was some- 
times a short flight to the other side of the room 
one after the other, after which they would remain 
quiescent again for another hour till another bright 
thought came to incite them to action. 

No sudden noise startled these philosophic birds, 
who took no apparent interest in anything, and 
who during the month that I fed them by hand 
could never be induced to open their beaks to 
receive their hourly rations. 

I was heartily glad when the night-jars were 
sufficiently strong on the wing to be offered their 
liberty, and one fine evening they were allowed 
to glide noiselessly away to find their own diet of 
moths and beetles. 

One would hardly expect that such a shy bird 
as the ordinary wild pheasant could be so far tamed 



CHANCE GLIMPSES OF NATURE 187 

as to come to the window to enjoy a daily repast 
of bread or cake. Such a visitor, however, calls 
upon us almost always at afternoon tea-time. 

A dainty little hen-pheasant makes her appear- 
ance and waits patiently until she receives her 
accustomed portion, which she calmly discusses 
almost upon the doorstep. 

About three years ago I first observed this 
pheasant lurking timidly under the deodar branches 
on the lawn, and wishing to attract her, I used 
daily to throw out a piece of bread and butter on 
the lawn. Although at first the bird fled away in a 
fright, yet after a time she plucked up courage, and, 
rushing forward, would seize the bread and run 
away with it to eat it at leisure in her hiding-place. 

During the past year I have also thrown out 
food between five and six in the morning, and the 
same charming bird has now lost her timidity and 
will come running to meet me as tamely as any 
barn-door fowl. She raises her little speckled 
crest, and seems to welcome me with her bright 
black eyes, awaiting the gift of sweet cake, which 
she esteems a great dainty. 

It is to me a constant pleasure to watch the 
graceful attitudes of this pheasant ; she has the 
alertness and freedom of a wild bird, she vanishes 
in a moment if anything startles her, and yet if I 



1 88 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

call her quietly and throw out some food, she is 
quickly reassured and returns to her repast. 

Two other hen-pheasants and a brilliantly- 
plumaged cock-bird occasionally appear, but they 
cannot persuade themselves that it is safe to 
remain so near the house. They only venture so 
far as to secure a lump of bread and then run 
away to enjoy it in some secret place. It is need- 
less to say that a host of sparrows endeavour to 
obtain their share of the spoil, and not unfrequently 
one, bolder than the rest, will watch his opportunity, 
and whilst the attention of the pheasant is 
momentarily diverted, the sparrow with a sudden 
dart seizes the bread and flits away with it out of 
sight in a moment. Then, I confess, I am always 
amused to watch the innocent dreamy manner in 
which the pheasant looks for her food as if ponder- 
ing upon the strange way in which bread will 
sometimes disappear without any apparent cause. 

I believe this bird nests year by year in a small 
wood near the house, for, in early summer, I see a 
mother-bird with her young brood in the park not 
far from the garden, and I can but hope my gentle 
visitor may be wise enough to remain within the 
bounds of this place, which I, not unsuccessfully, 
endeavour to make a sanctuary for all harmless 
furred and feathered creatures. 



FRIENDSHIPS WITH INSECTS 

" Nature ne'er deserts the wise and pure, 
No plot so narrow, be but Nature there, 
No waste so vacant, but may well employ 
Each faculty of sense, and keep the heart 
Awake to love and beauty." COLERIDGE. 

1AM afraid that many of my readers will think 
that it is nothing more than a fanciful idea 
that one can cultivate friendship with an insect, 
although they may perhaps recollect that in some 
of my books I have already given histories of my 
tame butterflies and beetles. 

Stag-beetles are tameable to a remarkable 
degree, as I proved in the case of one of my 
specimens, which would follow me, and me only, 
over the lawn in whichever direction I turned. 
My friends tried to distract its attention, but it 
invariably singled me out, and would always creep 
towards me. It was obvious that in some inscru- 

iSy 



190 OUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

table way it recognised me as the person who 
supplied it with food and caresses. 

Perhaps it may interest those who, like myself, 
are kept much at home by ill-health to hear of 
creatures, easily attainable, which can be kept as 
pets for a longer or shorter time according to their 
species. It must be remembered that insects, as 
a rule, are very short-lived. The May-fly or 
Ephemera lives but a single day, but there are 
many other two- or four-winged flies which can 
be made happy for days and weeks if they are 
supplied with suitable food, and granted as much 
liberty as possible. 

I never attempt to keep any winged pet unless 
I feel sure that it will be contented in captivity. 
It is easy to discover from its conduct if it is 
chafing and miserable, fluttering incessantly up 
and down trying to find some mode of escape ; if 
it does this, the prison doors must be opened, that 
it may soar away into the open air it is pining for. 
But in other cases an insect will make itself happy 
in our care, and then it is to me a keen interest to 
try to anticipate its needs in the matter of food. 
A strawberry dipped in sugar, a lump of sugar 
moistened with cream, and the pollen of flowers are 
almost certain to meet the needs of our various 
pets. Certain predaceous beetles which live upon 



FRIENDSHIPS WITH INSECTS 191 

flies and other insects are an exception, and for 
them we must provide morsels of raw meat for 
their dietary. It is only needful to watch the 
insect life which is going on around us out of 
doors to learn that it consists mainly in a struggle 
to obtain food, and to guard against surrounding 
enemies. Now, if I can shelter any winged 
creature from the constant fear of molestation, 
supply its requirements in the way of food, and 
allow it to enjoy a measure of free-will and liberty, 
then I can see no cruelty in retaining it in my 
possession long enough for me to study its special 
habits and peculiarities. In this way only can one 
arrive at certain facts in the life history of insects, 
and then have the pleasure of passing on such 
information to a circle of readers who may not 
have my opportunities for study of this kind. 

If I turn to a scientific book to obtain some 
knowledge of a curious fly, this is the kind of help 
that is afforded : 

" Eristalis tenax. Head semi-circular, epistoma 
somewhat depressed above, with a distinct scapula 
near the peristoma. Labrum long, lingua acute, 
maxillae subulate, curved, much longer than the 
lingua." 

Now this may be very interesting to a pro- 
fessional entomologist, but it does not convey 



192 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

much information to an ordinary reader, and yet 
this is the scientific description of my drone-flies, 
.interesting creatures which I kept through a whole 
winter until they were coaxed into the circle of my 
winged friends. 

Daily cared for and made happy, they confided 
to me something of the secret of their being, and 
thus they became tame and interesting pets, whose 
habits, as some of my readers may remember, I 
have described elsewhere. 

MY BLUE-EYED BEES. 

The species of solitary bees known as Osmia 
aurulenta has a curious preference for laying 
its eggs in empty snail-shells, putting in a store 
of suitable food for its young grubs, and then 
closing up the mouth of the shell with mud. 
As our soil in Stanmore does not seem to suit the 
requirements, of snails, and as we therefore never 
find any of their shells lying about, these special 
bees had not come under my notice until a friend 
sent me some shells of the Common Snail 
(Helix aspersa) filled with dried mud, which I was 
told had been placed there by this Osmia bee. I 
kept these specimens through the winter in a warm 
room, and one morning about the middle of April 
I was delighted to see that a little golden-brown 



FRIENDSHIPS WITH INSECTS 193 

bee had hatched, and was sitting on one of the 
snail shells. The little creature was perfectly 
tame, and Allowed me to examine it closely with 
a magnifying glass, through which I could see its 
soft downy body, smaller than a honey-bee, but 
somewhat resembling it in form, with the distinc- 
tive difference that it possessed large pale-blue eyes. 




OSMIA BKKS. 



This colour is, I believe, rare in the insect world 
except in the case of dragon-flies. 

Quite a colony of these bees emerged from the 
shells and fed peaceably on honey and pollen for 
a few days, until I had learned all I desired about 
their appearance and habits, and then they were 
gently transferred to some spring flowers in the 
garden, where they would find congenial food and 
be able to carry out their natural instincts in 
founding a family to be hatched next year. 

14 



194 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

A SOLITARY WASP (Odynerus). 

For nine years past a certain small hole in the 
house-wall close to our garden door has been the 
cradle of a succession of small solitary wasps. 

Solitary bees and wasps are so called because, 
instead of living together by thousands in a nest 
like the honey-bee and common wasp, a great 
number of species exist in pairs, and the labour 
of forming the nest and providing food for the 
grubs is carried out by the female alone in the 
manner I will now describe. Each year, about 
the 24th of June, I find the hole, which has been 
closed up with mud throughout the winter, has 
been opened, the tenant has hatched, and before 
many days have passed I am sure to see the 
slender black and yellow wasp hovering near its 
birthplace, preparing in its turn to lay an egg 
there. 

It will place a due supply of food for the young 
grub which will be hatched, and then the mother 
wasp will close up the orifice with grey mud. All 
through the winter the egg remains quiescent until 
the spring sunshine brings it to life, to pass through 
its various stages of grub and chrysalis, and then, 
true to its hour, it will hatch into the perfect 
insect about the 2Sthof June. As I keep a Nature 



FRIENDSHIPS WITH INSECTS 



195 



Study journal I am able to speak with certainty as 
to dates. In the year 1902 the Odynerus hatched 
on the 24th of June and then laid its egg and 
closed up the hole on the I2th of July, and I often 




ODYNERUS WASP, MAGNIFIED. 

wonder if the insect's life is limited to these three 
weeks. 1 This small wasp is a gentle harmless little 

1 In 1903 this Odynerus hatched on the 8th of June. 
The weather being cold and wet, I imagine the wasp did 
not survive, as the hole has remained empty ever since that 
date. 



1 96 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

creature. I have never known it to use its sting, 
even if it possesses one, of which I am not sure. I 
often find an Odynerus on the window-pane in 
summer, and take it on my hand that it may enjoy 
an unwonted feast of sugar dipped in cream, which 
mixture, as I have already said, appears to be 
peculiarly appreciated by bees, flies, and wasps of 
all kinds. 

A ZEBRA SPIDER (Salticus scenicus}. 

Before I speak of my Zebra spider, I must 
premise that it does not possess the distinctive 
characteristics .of an insect. In technical language 
true insects are defined as possessing two antenna;, 
six legs, and an articulated body in three divisions. 
Now a spider has no antennae, it has eight legs 
and a body consisting of two parts only, which 
are not ringed or articulated, as is the case with 
beetles, flies, and other true insects. 

For some years I have known one of these 
Zebra spiders, and could always find it in warm 
summer days stealthily tracking about on the wall 
of the house in the sunshine looking for stray 
insects. 

The Zebra spider makes no regular web beyond 
a few strands near its house door. Its mode of 
capture is this : it watches its prey alight upon the 



FRIENDSHIPS WITH INSECTS 



197 



wall, and then slowly but surely draws nearer and 
nearer, until it can spring upon its victim, giving 
the fatal bite which stupefies it sufficiently to 
allow the spider to drag it to its hole. I could 




ZEBRA SI'IDER. 



never discover the retreat of this particular spider 
until this summer, when, glancing at the wall, a 
large Hoverer fly attracted my attention as I 
passed, and, wondering why it remained so quietly 



198 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

in one spot, I went near to examine it, and found 
it was dead and being devoured by my spider. I 
watched until the Zebra dragged the body slowly 
to a crevice in the angle of the window-ledge, where 
the little robber settled down to enjoy his feast. 

Now, if I take a dead fly and place it near this 
hole, my spider friend soon comes out and appro- 
priates it. Examined with a lens, one cannot but 
admire the beautiful and varied markings and 
stripes to which this spider owes its name. The 
differences in character in insects are very curious, 
and, relatively speaking, seem to be quite as 
marked as in human beings. The excitable and 
the stolid, the clever and the stupid, all have their 
counterparts among the individual members of 
the insect world. Take a blue-bottle fly as an 
instance ; can anything be found more unreason- 
ing and foolish than the way in which it will bang 
itself against a window, never learning the nature 
of glass by any number of concussions ? I would 
place at the other extreme the Humble-bee fly 
(Bombylius medea), a beautiful golden-brow 
creature which may be seen in spring hovering 
over the newly blossoming flowers, poising like a 
tiny humming-bird and inserting its long proboscis 
into the flowers to obtain the honey on which it 
subsists. 



FRIENDSHIPS WITH INSECTS 199 

If we capture one of the latter carefully, with a 
gauze net, and place it under a glass shade, its 
highly nervous temperament makes it so faint 
with terror that it lies on its back as if dead. 
After a while, however, it revives and quietly 
moves around the glass, never touching it, but 
intelligently searching for some way of escape. I 
generally place a bunch of sweet flowers in a small 
vase for the fly to rest upon, and soon we may see 
it reconciled to its fate and seeking for honey as if 
in the open air. 

Very little is known about the life history of 
this charming insect. Its larvae are said to be 
parasites, feeding on caterpillars and other insects. 
I seldom see a Bombylius after May, or early in 
June. But for the unusual coldness of this spring, 
I should have carried out my purpose of keeping 
one of these flies as long as possible, so as to have 
learned something of its habits and life-history, 
but the only specimen I saw I was unable to 
capture, so I must hope to be more successful at 
some future time. 

Another difference of character maybe observed 
between drone-flies and the honey-bee. 

My specimens of the former had been living 
happily for many months in a glass globe, and one 
cold, wet spring day, seeing a honey-bee upon the 



200 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

window-pane, I thought I would save its life by 
affording warmth and food for a day and night, 
and let it go on the following day. With the 
drone-flies it had plenty of honey, and I supposed 
it would be happy ; but it refused food, and never 
ceased to buzz up and down until it became 
exhausted, and I found it dead the next morning. 
I imagine that, being accustomed to live in a 
crowded hive, it could not endure solitude, and my 
intended kindness led to its miserable death. I 
might fill many more pages upon this subject, but 
I think I have shown in these few examples that, 
close around our daily life, there lie abundant 
subjects for .thoughtful study even in such 
apparently insignificant creatures as the flies and 
wasps which flit about upon our window-panes. 
They have their individualities and instincts, and 
are worthy of our attention, seeing that they all 
faithfully perform the part that they are designed 
to play in the great harmony of nature. 



UNDER THE TULIP-TREE 

"There is no one who has not been lost in wonder at 
times at the individual beauty and perfection of the wild 
flowers, whose blossoming and fading, opening and closing, 
mark the passage of the seasons and the daily course of 
the sun in the heavens. We take up at random any single 
plant from a whole meadowful, and we find that it is as 
complete in all its parts, and as adapted for its purpose, 
as though it were the only object in the universe." 
REV. HUGH MACMILLAX, D.D. 

ON this lovely June morning I am enjoying an 
hour's rest beneath the spreading branches 
of my ancient tulip-tree. The first day out of doors 
after long weeks of illness affords a pleasure 
scarcely to be understood by those who are 
favoured with uninterrupted health. Every sense 
is gratified ; the sweet freshness of the hay-scented 
air, the songs of the birds, the flickering of the 
lights and shadows, the murmuring of bees 
amongst the flowers all these minister exquisite 
delight, and fill the mind with happy thoughts. 



202 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

The mower's scythe is not allowed to disturb 
the luxuriant growth beneath this tulip-tree, so 
that the grasses and wild flowers spring up year 
after year at their own sweet will. Our squirrels 
have unwittingly sown quite a miniature forest 
of young trees by leaving their beech-nuts, acorns, 
and other woodland provender to take root and 
grow in the soft green moss. The winds of spring 
and autumn have also brought here the winged 
seeds, or samaras, as botanists call them, of other 
trees, and these are germinating and spreading 
their first young leaves to catch the rays of sunlight. 

As I sit here I could gather specimens of eleven 
different seedling trees. Beech, lime, common 
ash, mountain ash, hornbeam, sycamore, birch, 
hawthorn, holly, English oak, and Turkey oak, all 
are here in miniature. 

I must not be tempted to write about them 
or my book would grow far too lengthy, but 
I would commend the study of seedling trees 
as affording an added interest to woodland 
rambles. When dried, named, and neatly 
arranged in an album, the leaves of these young 
trees afford good examples of the curious 
variation in the form of cotyledon leaves. My 
subject to-day shall simply be the wild flowers 
growing in the grass around my seat. 



UNDER THE TULIP-TREE 203 

Some trees seem to have a baneful influence 
and will not permit the growth of plants beneath 
their foliage. Under a beech-tree, for instance, 
one can scarcely ever find any verdure, and in 
my own beech-woods, where even moss declines 
to grow, nothing but dry crisp beech-leaves strew 
the ground, the only living growth, excepting 
fungi, being the germinating beech-nuts. These 
appear to flourish in the leafmould into which 
they have fallen in the previous autumn. Under 
my tulip-tree, however, wild flowers seem to grow 
happily enough. Both the white and the blue 
milkwort (Polygala vulgaris] show their tiny 
blossoms amongst the grass. This is one of the 
few wild flowers which can boast of tfiree colours, 
blue, white and red, and where it grows in large 
and distinct masses, as I remember seeing it, years 
ago, on Salisbury Plain, the effect is extremely 
beautiful. It prefers a chalky soil, and only on 
open downs of that description can it be seen 
in luxuriant beauty. In our own stony ground, 
the plants are few and far between, but in contrast 
with the bright pink of the marsh red-rattle, which 
grows abundantly on our common, the azure blue 
of the milkwort is a welcome tint, blue being in- 
frequent amongst our wild flowers. 

The old Greek name, Polygala (much milk), 



204 

seems to have been given to this plant because 
of its reputed quality of promoting the secretion 
of milk. In olden days it was called " Rogation 
flower," because it formed part of the garlands 
which were carried in procession during " Roga- 
tion " week, the bishop of the diocese and clergy 
traversing the bounds of each parish, offering 
prayers that plague and tempests and all other 
evils might be averted. 

As early as the year 550 A.D. these processions 
are mentioned. Izaak Walton tells how the 
judicious Hooker took this opportunity to " drop 
some loving observations and to express some 
pleasant discourse with his parishioners." 

Thus the innocent little milkwort leads our 
thoughts to a far-away past, as it " purples all 
the ground with vernal flowers." 

The surrounding lawn is, in places, quite silvery 
with the half-curled leaves of the mouse-ear hawk- 
weed. Its finely-cut yellow flowers are produced 
on unusually long stalks under the shade of this 
tree. The habit of the plant is to grow in rosette 
form with one flower rising from the centre. 
The outermost leaves have the longest stalks, 
and in order that all may obtain their due share 
of light and air, each succeeding leaf has a shorter 
stem, and thus the plant attains the rosette shape. 



UNDER THE TULIP-TREE 205 

The under side of each leaf has a white downy 
surface, and hence when the edges of the leaves 
curl over in dry weather, the silvery effect upon 
the lawn is produced. The upper side of the 
leaf is dark green with a few very long white 
hairs lying flat upon the surface ; one would 
like to know of what use they can be, but like 
the curious silvery hairs of the small field-rush 




ROSETTE FORM OF LEAFAGE. 



(Luzula campestris), no doubt they fulfil some 
useful purpose in the economy of the plant. 

The humblest weed can supply food for thought 
as to the uses of its various parts, and it is for 
that reason that I am to-day limiting my obser- 
vations to the wild flowers that are growing 
within my reach. This hawkweed has shown us 
that rosette-shaped plants bear their leaves in the 



206 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

best possible way for obtaining light and air, 
and, if we have access to any collection of 
saxifrages, we shall see the rosette form in every 
variety of graceful arrangement. Another im- 
portant principle of growth is shown in the rib- 




wort plaintain (Plantago lanceolata}, which is a 
troublesome weed upon my lawn. This plant 
possesses what is called a tap-root, that is, a 
root somewhat resembling horse-radish, with its 
rootlets tending downwards. It is essential that 
the rain should be guided to this central root, 



UNDER THE TULIP-TREE 



207 



and therefore we find that the leaves on this 
kind of plant grow from the centre, and are 
placed at such an angle as to act as channels 
to convey dew and rain down to the tap-root. 




FOXGLOVE. 

(Leaves conveying rain to central root.) 

If we bear this principle in mind, we shall find 
that a large number of plants are thus formed. 
Some have deeply furrowed leaves, and where 
there is a leaf-stalk, it often has a channel down 



208 



QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 



the inner side to act as a conduit for the falling 
rain. Amongst foreign plants the banana is a 
remarkable example of this structure. Down the 
centre of each leaf runs a groove an inch wide 
and deep, so that we can picture the tropical 




ACANTHUS. 
(Leaves conveying rain away from central rpot.) 

rains rushing down the broad, upright leaves, 
conveying floods of welcome moisture to the 
root. In the case of trees exactly the opposite 
principle usually prevails. Their roots spread out 
far and wide, and the rootlets, which alone are 
able to convey nutriment to the tree, extend in 



UNDER THE TULIP-TREE 209 

a circle many feet away from the tree trunk. 
If we examine the foliage of deciduous trees, 
we shall observe that, as a rule, the points of 
the leaves tend outwards and downwards, so that 
they convey the rain away from the centre to 
the outside limits of the tree, where the rootlets 
in the ground can receive and absorb it for 
purposes of nutrition. Even with coniferous trees 
this is the case. After long-continued heavy rains 
I find the earth perfectly dry around the stem 
of a certain oriental spruce fir with low-growing 
branches, and beneath it are untidy holes which 
show that the pheasants have been enjoying their 
dust-baths as usual. 

The consideration of leaf-production has led 
us away from our wild-flower study, and space 
will only allow me to mention one or two 
plants whose appearance in this place was rather 
puzzling. I could not account for such an 
exclusively field plant as the purple corn-cockle 
(Agrostemwa. githago] flowering here in the long 
grass, and buckwheat also springing up under 
a deodar near by, until I remembered that in 
winter we liberally supply the starving rooks 
with the sweepings of the granary, and no doubt 
the cockle-seed was strewn amongst the wheat 
and barley. For some of my pets I have to 



210 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

obtain packets of mixed seeds of sunflower, 
hemp, millet and buckwheat, and, as outdoor 
birds enjoy a few handfuls from time to time, 
the buckwheat has chosen, in this rainy year, 
to spring up in great vigour. The flowers of 
the buckwheat (Polygonum fagopyrunt] are very 
interesting, and at the same time somewhat 
puzzling to the observer. The blossoms are 
freely visited by insects for the sake of the 
honey secreted in the little tubular florets. 
When, however, an insect withdraws from one 
flower and passes on to another, it finds quite 
a different arrangement inside the second tube. 
In one the pistil, or central part of the flower, 
is elongated and the stamens very short, while 
in the other the pistil is low down and the 
stamens stand high up, as if to guard the 
entrance against intruders. There are, in fact, 
two kinds of flowers growing on the same plant, 
an arrangement that tends to secure that cross- 
fertilisation which is so essential to the production 
of vigorous seed. 

Growing in company with the buckwheat and 
from the same source is a plant of the black 
bindweed (Polygonuin convolvulus}, which curiously 
imitates the twining habit of the field convolvulus, 
differing from that cornfield pest by producing 



UNDER THE TULIP-TREE 211 

more seed and no running underground stems. 
A young vigorous plant of the broom (Sarothani- 
nus scoparius) has gained quite an established 
place amongst the grasses growing under my 
tulip-tree. When the leaves fall in autumn, I 
am afraid this broom may disappear in the 
clearing-up process, unless it is honoured with 
a protective label. 

The flowers of the broom are amongst the 
most remarkable in the garden, and are visited 
by insects in large numbers. The entrance of 
a bee into a newly-opened broom flower causes 
the stamens to spring up with a slight explosive 
force by which the abdomen of the bee becomes 
dusted with their p'ollen. When the bee flits to 
another and older flower on the same stem, in 
which the powder has been discharged and 
transferred to another pistil, the insect receives 
the pollen on its back, and in both cases it is 
the unconscious means by which nature carries 
on the cross-fertilising process so essential to 
healthy plant life. I have only space ' to notice 
one more of the many plants growing in my 
tulip-tree circle. This one is well-known to all 
my readers as the charming dog violet (Viola 
C(Uihui). One of the early harbingers of spring, 
and yet often lasting on till the end of July, 



212 OUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

these wild violet flowers seem to me to have a 
special grace of their own as we light upon 
them in mossy crevices around old tree-stems. 
After the pale blue flowers have faded, the plant 
produces other flowers, which are seldom noticed 
as they are inconspicuous, on short stalks near 
the root, and appear to be mere buds ; but if 
we carefully pull them to pieces, we shall find 
they are flowers, but differing from the coloured 
ones in several particulars. 

The coloured petals are absent, and the other 
parts are reduced to mere scales ; still these 
flowers produce seed, and as they do not open, 
insects cannot visit them, so botanists call them 
self-fertilised or cleistogamous flowers. Here we 
have another glimpse into one of Nature's wonder- 
ful ways of securing for the plant continuity of 
life by providing seed that is formed late in the 
season, and which therefore provides against the 
possible failure of the flowers that open in the 
early months, whose fertility depends upon insect 
visitors. 

If the plant life beneath a single tree has 
yielded so many subjects for thought and study, 
I hope- my readers will be encouraged to believe 
that around them on every side lie hidden 
wonders in this beautiful world of ours, which 



UNDER THE TULIP-TREE 213 

will well repay any time they can spare from 
their life-work for the investigation of the special 
branch of nature-study they may be led to 
pursue. 



SEEDLING TREES 

AS an admirer of trees, I have for years past 
been led to study their growth from the 
germination of the seed onward through the 
different stages of their life, until they are old 
enough to produce their curious flowers or 
catkins 

I can remember the time when it was a re- 
velation to me that trees had flowers, and, 
supposing that there may be amongst my 
readers some who are as little acquainted with 
their beauty as I was then, I will venture to point 
out some very interesting lines of study for those 
who have access to pleasure-grounds or woods, 
where they can wander amongst well-grown trees, 
and search for their seedlings. These will be 
readily found growing in the leafmould under 
the shade of the branches. A seedling-tree is 

often so remarkably unlike its parent that we 

214 



SEEDLING TREES 215 

shall not easily recognise it, and only after some 
study can we feel sure as to its identity. 

As it adds greatly to the interest of a country 
ramble to have some pursuit in view, I would 
strongly commend the collecting and drying 
specimens of these seedling trees. 

They need only to be placed between sheets 
of blotting-paper, and laid in a press or under a 
heavy weight until they are dry enough to be 
mounted, the paper being dried every day to 
prevent mildew. 

It affords a pleasant evening's occupation to 
arrange these small specimens in a blank book, 
with their Latin and English names, the locality 
and date when obtained, and any items -of special 
interest that may be wo'rth recording. 

THE BEECH. 

t 

The young beech presents two flat broad leaves 
called cotyledons, and, until the next pair of 
leaves appear, no one could guess that they had 
any relation to a beech-tree. The secret is re- 
vealed when we find, as. is sometimes the case, 
the small three-cornered husk of the beech-nut 
still clinging to the unfolding cotyledon/ 

During the first year these four leaves only 
are produced ; they drop off in autumn, the stem 



216 



QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 



becomes woody, and in the following spring a 
tuft of delicate and perfect beech-leaves will 
appear, with light brown scales at their base. In 
our dried collection there should be a first and 
second year seedling, to show the difference 
between them. The beech only produces its nuts 




BEECH. (Fagits sylvatica.} 

every second year, and when they are plentiful, 
the squirrels eagerly collect them for their winter 
store, and may be seen here tearing across the 
lawn, bearing away their treasure to some secret 
hiding-place. Since scarcely any plant will grow 
under a beech-tree, the nuts are easily seen, and 



SEEDLING TREES 



217 



but few are left after the squirrels have raided 
the woods. 

A high wind in autumn probably carries away 
a great many beech-nuts to some distance, where 
they drop into crevices and remain dormant until 
the warmth of the sun in April and May causes 
them to germinate. This may account for our 
finding the young plants growing on walls or in 
flower-beds where no beech-trees are in sight. 

THE HOLLY. 
This tree first appears with two oval cotyledon 




HOLLY, (flex aquifolittm.) 

leaves, and later on one or two small prickly leaves, 
which survive the winter. The following year the 



218 QUIET HOURS WITH, NATURE 

prickly leaves increase in number and size, so 
that the seedling is then more easily seen and 



distinguished. 



THE TULIP-TREE. 

The tulip-tree so seldom produces fertile seed in 1 
England that it was a pleasant surprise to find that 
young seedlings had been produced from the cones 
of our own tree. 

The drawing shows a compact little plant with 




TULIP-TREE. (Liriodendron tulipifera} 

oval cotyledons and charming little leaves, almost 
exactly resembling the adult form. A young tree 
I obtained from a nursery seems to grow but very 
slowly, and the leaves in their early years are of 
peculiar shape, having very deep divisions ; it may 
possibly be a mere sport, or the plant may become 
normal in form as it grows older. 



SEEDLING TREES 



219 



THE SYCAMORE. 
Sycamore seedlings are the most easy to 



:/ 




SYCAMORE. (Acer pscudo-platanits. ) 

find of all the baby trees. The keys or 



220 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

winged seeds are so light that they are readily 
blown in all directions by - the autumn gales. 
Wherever there is a crevice and a little moisture 
these seeds readily germinate. If it were not 
for the mowing-machine, my lawn would, in a 
few years, become a sycamore wood, so thickly 
is it covered in spring with the strap-shaped 
cotyledons of .this tree. The young plants are 
liable to many variations ; they appear with three 
and even four first leaves, and in one case the 
three were succeeded by three perfect leaves, but 
that is quite an unusual instance. 

THE ENGLISH OAK. 

The best way to obtain good specimens of 
such trees as the oak, horse-chestnut and Spanish- 
chestnut is to place the acorn or nuts in damp 
moss, and then we have the pleasure of watching 
the curious process of germination. 

The plumule, which will be the tree stem, breaks 
out of one side of the chestnut, and from it a 
second stem grows downward to form the root, 
and white rootlets covered with fine hairs grow 
thickly from it, to enable the young plant to 
absorb moisture and nutriment. 

Cotyledon leaves are never seen in the case 




TURKEY OAK. ( Qucrcus cerris. ) 



222 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

of these nuts or acorns, since the two halves of 




ENGLISH OAK. ( Qtiercus robur. ) 

the nut are the cotyledons, and they remain inside 
the husk, so that the first we see of the young 



SEEDLING TREES 322 

tree is a stout green stem with two or three perfect 
leaves. 

As it is not possible to include these hard nuts 
in our collection, I have overcome the difficulty 
by simply drying the young oak or chestnut, and, 
when fixed in its place, adding a sketch in water- 
colour of the cotyledons and outer husk, as shown 
in the drawing of the English oak. 

COMMON ASH. 

For many years I failed to find any seedlings 
of the common ash, for this reason : the ash has 
a pinnate leaf, and I naturally looked for some- 
thing similar in its cotyledon ; but, strange to 
say, it begins life with a simple oval leaf that 
might belong to a poplar or a pear-tree. In the 
second year it has three leaflets, and in due time 
it appears with four or five pairs of leaflets, and 
a terminal one, as in the adult tree. 

THE LIME. 

The cotyledons of the lime are curiously notched, 
and so unlike the adult leaves that we shall hardly 
guess what they are until they are old enough to 
develop the second pair of leaves, which are like 
those of the parent tree, only somewhat more 
elongated in shape. 




COMMON ASH. (Fraxinus txcelstor.) 
First year. 



SEEDLING TREES 225 

The lime-trees here are much ill-used by the 
squirrels, who strip off the soft layers of fibre 




L 1 M E. (1 ilia Europaa. ) 

just beneath the bark of the smaller branches, and 
use it to line their nests. The Russian lime fur- 
nishes the material of which bast matting is made. 

16 



226 



QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 



THE HORNIJKAM. 

The hornbeam has two small oval cotyledons, 
and the succeeding leaves are almost perfect in 





HORNBEAM. ( CarfitttlS bctlllus. I 
Kir>l year. 

shape, but we seldom can find specimens with 
more than one leaf in the first year, or, maybe, 
one and an immature second. 



SEEDLING TREES 227 

THE BIRCH. 

The seed of this tree being extremely small, its 
first-year seedling has been, so far, invisible to me ; 




B I RC H . ( Bit 'in 'a alba. ) 
Second year. 



I can only find it in the second year, when, as in 
the drawing, it shows several well-formed mature 
leaves which, in this early stage, are soft and downy. 



228 



OUIET HOURS WITH X AT I' RE 



THE MOUNTAIN ASH. 
We might easily mistake the seedling mountain 




MOLMA1N AiH. (Pj'/Hl atlitlfaria.} 

ash for a minute fern, its leaves are so small and 
finely divided. 

It requires careful searching to find a specimen 




HAWTHORN. (Cratagus oxyaccuitha, } 
Second vi-;ir. 



230 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

of this tree in an early stage ; it scarcely shows 
above the grass or moss in which it is growing ; 
the drawing is therefore taken from a seedling in 
its second year. . It was one of nine species of 
trees I found growing under a deodar on the lawn; 
the berry had no doubt been carried there by some 
bird which had dropped the seed from a branch 
above. 

THE HAWTHORN. 

In the first year this tree has two small oval 
cotyledons, and two perfect-shaped leaves, so it is 
easily to be distinguished from other seedlings. 
It seems to germinate almost as readily as the 
sycamore, and is widely spread, owing to birds 
eating the berries and dropping the seeds every- 
where. 

Space will not admit of further examples. I 
hope these will be sufficient to induce many 
young readers to turn their attention to our 
English trees. With this object in view, the in- 
terest of their country rambles will be immensely 
increased, and with the aid of such a book as 
" The Forest Trees of Britain," by the Rev. C. A. 
Johns (C.P.C.K.), the specimens can be named, and 
in time the dried collection will be both interesting 
and valuable. 



ECCENTRIC FLOWERS 

WHEN we see some strangely-shaped flower 
we are rather apt to regard it simply as a 
freak of nature, and pass it by without giving any 
thought to the reason of its eccentric form or 
colour. 

This was very natural in former times before 
the science of botany had made its present ad- 
vances, but of late years much careful study has 
been bestowed upon the remarkably shaped 
flowers of orchids, aroids, and other plants. This 
study has revealed the fact that each organ of 
these blossoms has its own especial use in the life 
history of the plant. 

For instance, we import orchids from tropical 
and other countries where the birds and insects 
are of a wholly different type from our own, and 
upon investigation it is discovered that these 

231 



232 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

flowers, which present to us every variety of 
weird formation, are exactly suited to the kinds 
of birds and insects which are to perform for them 
the important office of fertilisation. 

I have thought that it might interest nature- 
students to hear a little about a few of the curious 
foreign plants which appear in my conservatory 
month by month. 

The aroids are a family of plants that are ex- 
ceptionally quaint in their appearance. 

The flowers are very minute, and are usually 
developed upon a thick central stalk called the 
spadi.v. In the common arum (Arum nmculatuui 
they are arranged in rings or whorls, the lowest 
consisting of pistils only, then a ring of stamens, 
and finally some barren flowers. Its most curious 
feature is the large, greenish, purple-spotted bract 
which enfolds the central stalk and flowers ; this, 
I think, gives the " Lords and Ladies " of our 
hedges its title to be included amongst eccentric 
flowers. If we examine a blossom we shall notice 
that it is constricted in the centre so as to form an 
inflated chamber enclosing just the region of the 
stalk circled by the flowers, and, by the way, let 
us avoid inhaling its perfume, for we shall not find 
it that of roses or violets, but something suggestive 
of putrid meat, just the kind of odour that is 



ECCENTRIC FLOWERS 233 

attractive to the smaller flies which are required 
to effect the fertilisation of the flower. 

The bract or spathe is lined inside the inflated 
' part with hairs ; the flies pass in through the 
narrow channel, and by means of the hairs, 
which point downwards, they are prevented 
from escaping until they have helped to dis- 
tribute the pollen-grains on the pistils. The 
result is that the latter are fertilised and so 
seed is formed. 

It is very evident that the unusual shape and 
general character of these flowers tend to subserve 
an important purpose in their lives, and by study- 
ing the formation of an English Arum we get the 
key, as it were, to some of the floral puzzles pre- 
sented to us in foreign examples of this and other 
species. 

I have many exotic plants growing in the glass- 
houses and gardens here, and I will try to explain 
the service performed by three or four of the most 
beautiful of these striking forms. 

Last spring there bloomed in the conservatory a 
very extraordinary flower ; the spadix was slightly 
swollen and rounded, with the flowers growing in 
separate circles on the stem, as in the Arum. 

The queer-looking spathe was green outside and 
a shade of olive-brown within, covered with 



234 



QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 



yellowish spots suffused with dark purple. Un- 
like the Arum this spathe was elongated, and as 




SAUROMATUM (HTTTATUM. 



it hung down with a wavy outline it looked re- 
markably like a large spotted lizard, from which 
resemblance it has been named Sauromatwn 




AMOR PHOPH ALL t'S K1VIKKI. 



236 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

guttatum.' 1 It is a Himalayan plant, and from 
its overpowering and offensive odour I have no 
doubt it is a popular plant with all the flying 
insects in its native regions. 

My specimen became fertilised and produced 
its seed. 

Another plant of the same family flowered in 
midwinter. In this case out of a huge pot, as 
large as a man could lift, rose up a solid dark 
purple stalk, three feet high ; about two-thirds up 
this spadix came out a spreading bell-shaped 
spathe of a lurid purple colour faintly spotted on 
the inside. The flower organs were arranged, like 
those of the Arum, in circular rings included in 
the bell-shaped spathe. The upper part of the 
spadix was much swollen, as shown in the drawing. 

This plant, the Amorphophallus rivieri of 
Cochin China, possesses such a truly dreadful 
odour that we were obliged to banish it from the 
conservatory, and if it exists in any quantity in its 
native habitat it must render the air almost in- 
supportable. 

Its blossoms are, no doubt, highly attractive to 
the insect tribes whose aid it requires for its 
fertilisation. 

From the malodorous scent of these aroids it is 
' From two Greek words meaning a spotted lizard. 





I 




I -'I. AMI M;I i ri.AM. (Anlhiiriiim sihcrz 



238 QUIET HOURS 'WITH NATURE 

pleasant to turn to the lovely scarlet bracts of the 
Flamingo plant (Anthurium scherzerianuni}. 

Here we find the spadix twisted and contorted, 




\\llll KICM \\DKEANUM. 



and the flowers, unlike those of the Amm, are 
hermaphrodite and embedded in the red tissue of 
the spadix. They possess neither honey nor 



ECCENTRIC FLOWERS 239 

scent, but their brilliant colour no doubt renders 
them highly attractive to various insects. 

In Brazil, where these plants grow, humming- 
birds are abundant, and no doubt they play their 
part in the fertilisation of the flowers, not that 
there is any attraction for them in the blossom 
itself, but the hovering flies lead them to alight 
upon the protruding spadix and thus they help to 
distribute the pollen. 

These fly-haunted plants are sometimes death- 
traps to the inquisitive little birds which are 
attracted to them. 

A New Zealand shrub, Pisonia brunoniana, has 
such sticky carpels that birds alighting on them in 
search of insects are held fast as if by birdlime. 

A writer l speaks of having found a dozen or 
more dead and dying birds glued to the fruit- 
bearing branches of pisonia. 

We must not omit to mention .the very remark- 
able fact that there is a distinct rise in temperature 
in the enclosed part of the spatlie in many of the 
aroids; this makes the blossom all the more at- 
tractive to the flies, as warmth is just what these 
insects delight in. 

1 Nature, Nov., 1884. 



240 QUIET HOUKS WITH NATURE 

GLORIOSA SUPERBA. 

This extraordinary-looking flower is a native of 
tropical Africa and Asia, and therefore it needs to 
be grown in a very warm house where a moist 
heat may suggest the atmosphere one would have 
to breathe in an Indian jungle. 

It is very interesting to visit my stove-house 
and see the lovely flowers of tropical countries 
growing luxuriantly, the bananas ripening, the 
papyrus with stems ten feet high reaching up to 
the glass roof, all kinds of curious climbing plants 
clothing the interior of the house with their varied 
leafage and delightful blossoms ; yet, with all 
their attractions, my visits to this house are 
always very brief; the humid air seems after a 
few minutes to become unendurable, and I learn 
to estimate the perseverance and courage of mis- 
sionaries and others whose labours have in man}' 
instances to be carried on year after year in the 
enervating climate which exists in my tropical 
greenhouse. 

But I must return to my subject, the Gluriosti, 
which is a member of the lily family, though very 
unlike a lily in the form of its flower and in its 
habit of growth. 

It may be well to remind ourselves of the 



242 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

arrangement of the parts of a common tiger-lily. 
In its centre, in an erect position, is the seed-case 
or ovary, and growing from below the ovary are 
two sets of structures, the six stamens and six 
petals or perianth leaves, the whole supported 
upon a short stalk. Now if we turn to the Glonosa, 
we find an upside-down sort of arrangement ; the 
whole flower is reversed, so that the ovary points 
downwards and the stalk appears to come from 
the top of the flower ; the style is bent abruptly 
sideways, and assumes an almost horizontal 
position ; the stamens radiate from the ovary in 
all directions, each stamen bearing a large anther 
or pollen-case filled with dark red pollen. The 
six petals are sharply reflexed and twisted, the 
lower part of each petal is dark orange-red, whilst 
the upper part is amber-coloured, the whole form- 
ing a brilliant and conspicuous flower. We must 
not fail to observe that the midrib of each leaf 
is lengthened out into a twining tendril by means 
of which the lily attaches itself to . surrounding 
vegetation and keeps climbing higher and higher 
up- the sides of .my stove-house, as if in its native 
jungle, where every plant has to struggle more or 
less to reach up beyond its neighbour for needful 
light and air. The flowers hang in a pendulous 
manner below the foliage, and this fact, I think, 



ECCENTRIC FLOWERS 243 

partly accounts for the curious arrangement of 
their parts. 

The position of the flowers is such that they can 
easily be seen by tropical insects and humming- 
birds, these latter finding in the bent style a 
convenient perch where they can sit and feed 
either upon the pollen or the juices of the flower, 
with the result that their feathers become dusted 
with the pollen-grains, and in their flittings to and 
fro they render effectual service to the plant by 
pollinating its stigmas. The sun-birds of Natal 
frequent the aloe and lily blossoms, and must look 
wonderfully beautiful as they carry out the work 
for which they seem specially fitted. Mr. Anders- 
son speaks of this African bird and says: "Its 
food consists of insects and the saccharine juices 
of flowers, in search of which it flits incessantly 
from one flowering tree to another, now settling 
and now hovering, but glittering all the while in 
the sunshine like some brilliant insect or precious 
gem." 

ARISTOLOCHIA. 

For weird and fantastic form scarcely any 
flowers can vie with the Aristolochias, which 
botanically constitute a group of plants known 
as belonging to the Incomplete, though possessing 



244 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

some affinity to the Aroid family, discussed in 
our previous paper. 

The blossom of the Aristolochia, in each of the 
species, may be divided int9 three regions, an upper 
part that is often dilated and developed into a 
most conspicuous structure, the middle which is con- 
stricted and forms a very narrow passage into the 
third or lower, which is usually an inflated balloon- 
like chamber. Several of these plants are growing 
in my stove-house. One species, A. gigas, is a 
veritable monster ; the huge perianth measures 
ten inches across and is over a foot in length. 
Before it is wholly expanded, it reminds one of 
a grey burnouse wrapped round the dusky face of 
a Bedouin Arab, the interior of the flower being of 
a dark purple colour, while the surface is thickly 
covered with hairs, so as to suggest the Arab's 
hirsute face. 

The third and lowest chamber is much dis- 
tended, and the passage enters it in a syphon-like 
manner. I must complete this description by 
adding the fact that a slender tail two feet long 
hangs down from the lower part of the flower. 

It must be strange indeed to come upon this 
startling flower growing amongst the rich vegeta- 
tion of a humid Guatemalan forest, 1 and doubtless 

1 Where its flower measures over five feet from the top 
of the perianth to the end of the tail. 




ARISTOLOCHIA t.ICA-. 



246 QV1ET HOURS WITH NATURE 

its truly hideous scent attracts hundreds of insects 
to aid in its fertilisation. One would like to know 
the use of its slender hanging tail ; possibly it 
conducts to the flower some special insect not 
provided with wings. 

I read that a single spathe of a certain flower 
akin to the Aristolochia was found to contain more 
than two hundred and fifty carrion beetles of 
eleven different species ; so it may be that our 
Aristolochia provides a hanging staircase for some 
highly desirable beetle guests. 

In this flower the narrow passage is lined with 
hairs pointing downwards, so that flies and midges 
easily creep in, while the stiff hairs prevent 
their egress. The insects are accordingly obliged 
to make themselves at home. Although they are 
prisoners, however, they are treated with con- 
sideration ; they find shelter, warmth, and food, 
and their impatient restlessness achieves the end 
for which the plant attracts them. When the 
flies become dusted with the pollen grains, the 
hairs begin to shrink up in the neck of the flower, 
with the result that the prison is opened and the 
insects escape. 

Should there be other flowers of the same kind 
blossoming in the neighbourhood, the flies with 
their dusty coats pass into them and assist in 
carrying out cross-fertilisation. 



248 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

In A. elegans we have a smaller flower with 
beautifully intricate markings, but although the 
construction is on the same plan the evil odour is 
not so repellent as in other species. 

A. trifoliata is a climbing plant having flowers 
that at first sight resemble a pitcher plant ; close 
examination, however, shows that the pitcher-like 
effect is due to a modification of the upper part 
of an Aristolochia flower, the constricted neck and 
passage being somewhat small, and the chamber 
is inflated as in the other flowers. 

A large part of the roof of one of our glass- 
houses is occupied by an Aristolochia known by 
the formidable specific name of Ornitlwcephala, 
which, however, means nothing worse than " bird's 
head." 

It is a very strong-growing climber, with hand- 
some glaucous leaves, a Brazilian species of a 
most remarkable character. Its flowers are large, 
but not so large as those of A. gigas ; their colour 
is a creamy brown mottled with intricate markings. 

This colour is singular, but the shape is really 
grotesque. When the blossom is viewed sideways, 
we see that it does suggest the head and beak of 
some uncanny fowl. This idea has suggested 
itself fantastically to the author of the admirable 
" Dictionary of Gardening," for -he describes this 




ARISTOLOCHIA ORMTHOCEPHALA. 



250 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

flower as having "the head of a hawk, and the 
beak of a heron, with the wattles of a Spanish 
fowl, which, however, are grey netted with brown ; 
head of the same colour, veined, and the beak grey." 

It may well be termed eccentric, for anything 
more strange could hardly be imagined. 

The drawings will explain the modified form 
of the three parts of the flower ; the second 
appendage much resembles a hanging curtain of 
old chintz somewhat puckered up. The odour 
from this flower is simply beyond endurance and 
effectually prevents visitors from remaining in 
the greenhouse on a hot day when many of the 
blossoms are expanded and giving out their scent. 

Like all the Aristolochias this species is polli- 
nated by minute flies, midges or small beetles. 
The hanging curtain affords a convenient platform 
from which the insects can alight, and by means 
of which they can climb up to reach the tiny 
orifice leading to the cavity rendered so attractive 
to them by its perfume. 

I sometimes send a handful of these floral curi- 
osities with other cut flowers to various bazaar 
stalls, where they always excite the liveliest 
interest, but intending purchasers have to be 
warned of the dreadful odour they will emit when 
the flowers are once fully matured. 



ECCENTRIC FLOWERS 

MASDEVALLIA BELLA. 

Our list of eccentric flowers 
would be incomplete without 
some reference to the Orchid 
family, a large class of flowers 
representing eccentricity in the 
highest degree, since in this 
group are to be found every 
variety of form and character, 
each flower developing some 
wonderful contrivance for the 
fertilisation of its blossoms. 

Amongst cultivated orchids 
the Masdcvallias are remarkable 
for their quiet colouring and 
singular form, many of the 
flowers looking like large spiders 
and other insects. 

I watched with much interest 
a specimen of J7. bella which 
grew in my conservatory last 
summer. It was, rooted in a 
rustic basket suspended from 
an archway, and out from the 
bottom of the basket projected 
a strange-looking bud, which 

MAsDEVAI.LIA BELLA 

betokened a truly eccentric BUD. 



2,2 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

blossom when it should have attained its full 
growth. 

One morning I was delighted to find that the 
bud had expanded into a finely-spotted orchid- 
flower, its surface looking as if it had been made 
of a lizard's skin. The outer perianth leaves had 
long tails, and in the centre the pure white lip 
seemed to be so delicately poised that a breath of 
air made it tremble and quiver, a feature I had 
never observed to such a marked degree in any 
other flower. 

The central lip being broad and conspicuous, 
affords a good platform for small insects to alight 
upon, and thus they are enabled to get at the 
nectary, an operation that brings about two results, 
the insects being rewarded with the food they seek 
and being made the unconscious means of removing 
from the stigmatic pouches the little masses of 
pollen which they disturb when pushing into the 
cavity of the nectary. Thus it happens that 
when they withdraw themselves from the nectary 
with these pollen grains adhering to their bodies 
and visit other flowers of the same kind, the pollen 
is brought into contact with the slightly arching 
stigma, and the first stage of fertilisation is 
performed. 




MASOKVAI.I.IA BF.I.I.A. 



254 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

LADY'S SLIPPER (Cypripedinui). 

There is much to recommend this genus of 
orchids besides the beauty of their flowers. 

They do not require much heat, they have 
abundant leafage which sets off their curious 
blossoms, they condescend to grow in pots of 
earth like ordinary plants, and their flowers last a 
long time in water after they are gathered. 

Most people have a deeply-rooted idea that all 
orchids require an immense amount of heat, and 
therefore the possibility of growing them success- 
fully is supposed to be beyond the reach of 
amateurs who only possess a greenhouse. It is, 
however, quite possible to flower many interesting 
species of orchids in an ordinary greenhouse by 
taking pains to give each plant its proper soil and a 
suitable position, whether fastened to a piece of 
bark, planted in a hanging basket, or grown in the 
usual way in a pot of earth. These and other 
details are easily learnt from technical books 
devoted to the growth of orchids. 

Cypripedium insigne is an excellent plant to 
begin with, as it thrives well with ordinary care in 
a greenhouse. 

Cypripedium means Venus' Shoe, but the plant 
is more often called Lady's Slipper, and the 



ECCENTRIC FLOWERS 255 

appropriateness of the name will be seen from the 
curious form of the flower. 

The species of this genus are widely distributed, 

J 




CYPRIPEDIUM INSir.NK 



for some are found ' in such cold countries as 
Siberia and Canada, while others are met with in 
Mexico, India, and some parts of America. 



256 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

In order to grasp the significance and won- 
derful contrivance of the Cypripcdium flower in 
its relation to fertilisation, we must carefully 
note the arrangement of its various parts. The 
most conspicuous is that known as the lahellum 
or slipper, the " waist " or basal part of which 
is folded over and somewhat constricted, so that 
the edges nearly meet and form a tunnel, whilst 
the lower half broadens out into the shape of 
a slipper. 

If we look into the cavity formed by this arrange- 
ment, we see that the edges of the slipper are over- 
arching and the inner surface is highly polished. 
Now if we can find a small bee and place him in 
the slipper, we shall discover that it is so shaped 
that the bee can only escape by going through the 
narrow tunnel and so out at one of the two open- 
ings at the basal end. 

In thus going out, the insect cannot fail to 
detach one of the two pollen masses, and as the 
pollen is very glutinous, it adheres to the head 
of the bee, so that when he visits the next flower 
and presses in to obtain the honey, the pollen is 
scraped off his head by the sharp edge of the 
stigma, and the flower is thus cross-pollinated 
and fertilised, so that healthy and vigorous seed 
is ensured. 



ECCENTRIC FLOWERS 257 

Truly here the eccentricity, if we may so call it, 
stands revealed to us as a wonderful example of 
the design of the Creator even in so small a matter 
as the physiology of a flower. 



18 



MY GOURD PERGOLA 

NO doubt we ought to have experienced the 
parching heat of Eastern countries in order 
fully to appreciate the importance of such plants 
as gourds, cucumbers, and melons. 

We value them even in our temperate climate as 
affording a pleasing addition to our table, but in 
countries where drought and heat continue month 
after month, the refreshing juice stored up in these 
fruits and vegetables makes them of essential value 
in maintaining health and vigour. 

In Palestine gourds are cultivated in fields, and 
a watchman is stationed in a booth to drive away 
any marauding animals (Isa. i. 8). 

Dr. Livingstone, in his account of the Kalahari 
Desert in Africa, speaks of the abundant 
growth of melons, and the attraction they afford 
to wild animals. He says : " In years when 
more than the usual quantity of rain falls, vast 



MY GOURD PERGOLA 



259 



tracts of the country are literally covered with 
melons (Cucumis coffer). Then animals of every 
sort and name, including man, rejoice in the rich 
supply. The elephantine lord of the forest revels 
in this fruit, and so do the different species of 
rhinoceros, although naturally so diverse in their 
choice of pasture. The various kinds of antelopes 
feed on them with equal avidity ; and lions, hyenas, 




CARVED GOURD BOWL. 



jackals, and mice, all seem to know and appreciate 
the common blessing." I 

The wild gourd mentioned in 2 Kings iv. 39 was 
probably the colocynth (Citrullus colocynthus], a 
plant containing a bitter acrid juice. It yields the 
colocynth used as medicine. The flavour of this 
drug would render any food with which it was 

" Imperial Dictionary," article " Gourd." 



260 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

mixed utterly unpalatable. An allied species, the 
squirting cucumber (Ecbalium agreste\ which grows 
wild in Southern Europe, has the singular property 
of ejecting its seeds, when they are ripe, through 
an opening at one end of the fruit " Even when 
grown in England, this little gourd has been known 




BOTTLE GOURD 



to throw its seeds a distance of twenty feet." 1 It 
is somewhat like a minute hairy cucumber, and 
is often grown as a curiosity on account of its 
eccentric method of dispersing its seeds. 

In Africa and elsewhere gourds are often beauti- 

1 " Riviera Nature Notes." 



MY GOURD PERGOLA 



261 



fully carved with intricate patterns. I possess 
several specimens thus ornamented by the natives 
of Sierra Leone. In one instance the design 
appears to have been burnt into the rind with a 




BOTTLE GOURD (LONG-NECKED). 

heated tool, leaving a dark-brown design on a light 
ground. 

Gourds, when dried and cut in halves, form light 
and convenient bowls for domestic purposes, and 



262 



QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 



as they are of all sizes, ranging from a small basin 
up to a capacious bath-tub three or four feet across, 
we can well understand their usefulness in native 
huts. 

In their young green state gourds can be made 




GOURD ON CAMEL SADDLE. 



to grow into various shapes by constricting the 
fruit with ligatures according to the form that may 
be desired. 

Long-necked bottle gourds can be grown from 
seed as well as being artifically shaped during 
their growth. One of these in my possession is 



MY GOURD PERGOLA 263 

capacious enough to contain a gallon of liquid. 




GOURD I.AULE. 



Such a gourd affords the lightest possible means 
of carrying a supply of water when travelling. 



264 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

In Florida and Georgia it is a usual custom to 




GOURD USED BY BRAHMINS. 



have a tub of water at the entrance-door supplied 
with a ladle formed of a bottle-gourd cut in half, 



MY GOURD PERGOLA 265 

and the traveller is invited to refresh himself with 
" a gourd of water." 

Brahmins in India use the same shaped gourd, 
with a long neck, as a kind of horn, producing with 




WARTED GOURD. 

it a loud unearthly sound in order to summon 
worshippers to their temples. 

We all know the Loofah gourd (Luffa <zgyptiaca\ 
which, when dried, peeled and cut open, forms an 
admirable kind of flesh-brush. 



266 



QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 



This is an annual plant, a native of the tropics ; 
it has a white flower and an angular yellow fruit 
filled with seeds, mingled with the tenacious fibre 
which forms its usefulness when it is turned into a 
washing glove. 

For many years I have grown gourds of various 
kinds, large and small, smooth and warted, some 
half-yellow and half-green, others beautifully 
mottled in rich orange and green. When these 




CUSTARD GOURD. 

are thoroughly ripened, they form artistic groups 
in my hall piled upon large china dishes. Such 
ornamental specimens will last in good condition 
for twelve months. 

The great pumpkins, measuring four or five feet in 
circumference, are used for soup and pies, which, 
when made according to a good recipe, are not 
to be despised as occasional additions to the 
table. 



MY GOURD PERGOLA 267 

A quite charming feature in my kitchen garden 
this summer has been the pergola or trellised 
enclosure garlanded with gourds. The various 
coloured fruits hanging amongst the foliage had a 
very foreign aspect, and it was so much admired 




that I believe many would like to know how easily 
they can attain such an interesting addition to the 
garden. 

A sixpenny packet of mixed gourd seeds I 

' These can be obtained from Messrs. Sutton, of Reading, 
and other seedsmen. 



270 QUIET HOURS WITH NATURE 

should be sown in a hot-bed in March, in pots. 
Grown on until about the end of May, when frosts 
are usually over, they can then safely be planted 
out. The form and size of the pergola or trellis on 
which the gourds are trained must, of course, vary 
according to the amount of space which can be 
allotted to it. My own consists of two beds, each 
sixty feet long by eight feet broad, divided by a 
gravel walk. Stout rough-barked poles require to 
be sunk in the ground at intervals, and then con- 
nected with rustic work as suggested in the diagram. 
The weight of the gourds being considerable, it is 
necessary to make a firm structure, lest a sudden 
gale should throw down the erection and so bruise 
the succulent gourd-stems that they cannot be 
restored. The soil in the beds should be removed, 
and a thick layer of rich manure spread over the 
surface, then the original earth may be replaced, 
and the young gourds planted at intervals and kept 
well watered until fully established.' In a dry 
summer daily watering will be essential in order to 
secure abundant and well-grown fruit. 

As the plants throw out their long trailing 
shoots, sticks should be supplied here and there 
to guide the stems upward so that the foliage may 
clothe the trellis in all parts with graceful effect. 

The sketch will give some idea of the effect of 



MY GOURD PERGOLA 271 

the pergola towards the autumn, when the gourds 
are nearly ripe and the luxuriant leafage makes a 
deep shade beneath the roof of greenery. 

The gourds which are drawn to illustrate this 
paper are all varieties of Cucuinis pepo, except the 
Indian and the Loofah gourd. 

I have but mentioned a few out of many varieties 
of this widely-distributed family of plants. Possibly 
my readers may be sufficiently interested to pursue 
the subject further for themselves. 

Even growing a few gourd seeds in a pot will 
afford an excellent object-lesson in botany, for 
their large size and quick germination make them 
especially suitable as examples of the early stages 
of plant growth. 



V. \\V1X BROTHERS, LIMITED, THE GRESHAM PRESS, WOKINO AND LONDON'. 



Mr. T. FISHER UNWIN'S 
^ POPULAR NOVELS 

19034. 

MR. T. FI5HER UNWIN has much pleasure in an- 
nouncing the publication of the following Novels. 
Notes thereon will be found overleaf: 



SIX SHILLINGS EACH. 



THE DAYSPRINO. A Romance . 

A DRAMA OF SUNSHINE-Played 

in Horn burg 

THE SITUATIONS OF LADY 

PATRICIA 

THAT FAST MISS BLOUNT. 

ANGLO-AMERICANS 

THE MISCHIEF OF A GLOVE 



WILLIAM BARRY . . , 
MM. AUBRXY RICHARDSON . 



HELEN ADAIR 

ROSEMONDE 

LAURA'S LEGACY .... 
THE BLACK SHILLING. 
THE VINEYARD. . . . , 
THE MIS-RULE OF THREE 
THROUGH SORROWS GATES . 
KITTY COSTELLO .... 

NYRIA 

COURT CARDS 

THE KINGDOM OF TWILIGHT. 
A BACHELOR IN ARCADY . 
THE FILIGREE BALL . 
MYRA OF THE PINES . 
THYRA VARRICK .... 
THE SONG OF A SINGLE NOTE 
A BUSH HONEYMOON . 
THE WATCHER ON THE TOWER 
THE CARDINAL S PAWN . 



W. R. H. TROWBRIDGB 

ROT HORMIMAM 

LUCAS CLEEVE 

MRS. PHILIP CHAMPION D> 

CRBIPIOMT . 
Louis BBCKB . 
BEATRICE STOTT 
E. H. STRAIN 
AMELIA E. BARR. 
JOHN OLIVER HOBBBS . 
FLORENCE WARDEN . . 
HALLIWBLL SUTCLIPPE 
MRS. ALEXANDER . . 
MRS. CAMPBELL PRABD . 
AUSTIN CLARE. 
FORREST REID. 
HALLIWELL SUTCLIFTB. 
ANNA K. GREEN. 
HBRMAN K. VIELB, 
AMELIA E. BARR. 
AMELIA E. BARB. 
LAURA M. PALMER ARCHER. 
A. G. HALES. 
K. L. MONTGOMERY. 



Ready. 

Ready. 



Ready. 
Ready. 
Ready. 

Ready. 

Ready. 
Nov., 1903 
Nov., 1903 

Jan., 1904 

Feb., 1904 
Feb., 1904 
Feb., 1904 
Feb., 1904 



T. FISHER UNWIN, xi, PATERNOSTER BUILDINGS, LONDON, B.C. 



To Jioohulltr. 



Kindly send me, whtn published, the books which 1 kovi marked on the 

tibtve list. 

Name 



Addrett. 



[P.T.O. 



T. FISHER UNWIN'S NEW NOVELS. 

THE DAYSPRING A Romance. By WILLIAU BARRY, D.D., Author 
of 'The Wizard's Knot,' etc., etc. 

This is tha lite story of aa eager, earnest yonng soul, rising at length above the 
illusion of the senses to the clear heights of faith. Noble aims, misconstrued in the 
mirage of modern Paris, under the charm of a deluding spirituality, bring us to the 
moment of choice between two paths, on* that of so-called Free Love, the other that 
of supreme self sacrifice. The dreamy mysticism, the sparkling humour, the sudden 
brilliances, the delicate fancies which characterise the work of the author of ' The 
New Antigone' are to be found in this newest and perhaps most fascinating of Dr. 
Barry's books. A background of adventure is set by the last days of the Second 
Empire and the Commune of 1871. 

A DRAMA OF SUNSHINE Played in Hombarg. By Mrs. AUBRBY 

RICHARDSON. (First Novel Library). 

A dramatic episode of life in Homburg, at the height of the English season. The 
characters represent types of men and women actually to be met with in the high 
social and political world oi to-day. A Society Beauty and a Sister of an Anglican 
Community personify the red Rose of Love, Pride and Gaiety, and the pale Lily ot 
Purky, Aspiration and Repression. In the heart of the Rose, a lily bud unfolds, and 
in the caly i of the Lily, a rose blossoms. The incidents of the story succeeds each 
other swiftly, reaching a strong dtno&etntnt, and working out to a satisfying 
termination. 

THE SITUATIONS OF LADY PATRICIA : A Satire for Idle People 
By W. R. H. TROWBRIDGB, Author of 'The Letters of Hei 
Mother to Elizabeth.' 

Lady Patricia is an Englishwoman of a noble but impoverished family, whose 
girlhood has been spent on the Continent. Left an orphan she comes to England 
with the independent intention of seeking her own living. Sometimes nnder her 
own, sometimes nnder aa assumed nacbe, she takes various situations in England 
and France, and is brought in contact with many different sets of society both in the 
upper and the middle classes. In this volume she relates her experiences, and 
comments upon them with caustic wit. The plan of the work affords the author of 
' The Letters of Her Mother to Elizabeth ' an excellent opportunity of taitirising the 
aristocracy and the bourgeois gtnHlshoxrmts of England and France, and readers 
of the earlier volume will be prepared for a book full of piquancy and daring. 

THAT FAST MISS BLOUNT. A Novel. By ROY HORNIMAN. Author 
of ' The Living Buddha, 1 ' The Sin of Atlantis, 1 etc. 

There is nothing easier for a girl who has been born in a garrison town of hard-up 
Service parents than to drift, especially if, as in the case of Philippa, she has been 
disappointed in her first romance and is left a little soured and hardened. It is so 
easy to enjoy the tawdry amusements that come her way; and if, like Philippa, she is 
beautiful, flirtation follows flirtation, men come and go, till it becomes the habit to 
talk of her as ' that fast Miss Blount.' She is not the sort of girl as a role who gets 
married. There is something in the atmosphere about her which makes marrying 
men fight shy of her. Philippa, however, is saved from social shipwreck by marrying 
in such a way as to rouse the envy of all those who have been her traducers. The 
background of the story is concerned with the family life of Captain and Mrs. Blount's 
household. There are also some exciting chapters dealing with the South African war. 

ANGLO-AMERICANS. By LUCAS CLKKVE. 

The main theme of this story is the fundamental antagonism existing between two 
characters an American girl educated in ideas of freedom and independence, and of 
the subservience of man to woman, and her husband, an English Lord, who expects 
his wife to regard bis career and interests as her own, and to devote herself to them 
even to the obliteration of herself. The girl's father is a millionaire, and the story 
tells incidentally of the illicit means by which his pile was made. 



T. FISHER UNWIN'S NEW NOVELS. 

THE MISCHIEF OF A GLOVE. By Mrs. PHILIP CHAMPION DI 
CRSSPIGNY, Author of ' From behind the Arras. 1 

This story deals with the adventures of a man and a maid in the time of Mary I 
of England. The heroine, the daughter of a wild and reckless father, inherits his 
bold spirit, and by her woman's wit and courage, assists her lover to elude the pursuit 
of his enemies. She sallies forth in man's ature for bis sake, and has many adven- 
tures, both humorous and otherwise, before the end is attained, 

HELEN ADAIK. By Louis BBCKB. 

This story, which is largely based on fact, describes the career of a young Irish 
girl whose father was transported to Botany Bay for being concerned In the publi- 
cation of a ' seditious ' newspaper. Helen Adair, so that she may follow her father 
to the Antipodes, and share, or at least alleviate, his misfortunes under the dreaded 
'Convict System,' passes counterfeit coin in Dublin, is tried and convicted under an 
assumed name, and is sent out in a transport. Her adventures in Australia form an 
exciting romance. 

ROSEMONDE. By BEATRICE STOTT. (First Novel Library). 

This is the story of a gifted, sensitive woman, her husband who was a genius, 
and the unquenchable love for each other which was their torture and their bane. 

LAURA'S LEGACY. By E. H. STRAIN, Author of 'A Man's Foes. 1 

The ' Innocent Impostor ' of the title is a very charmir.g girl who has grown up 
in the full belief of herself and the world that she is Miss Barclay of Eaglesfaulds ; her 
mother dotes on her, she is seemingly heiress to large property, even the Queen is in- 
terested in her, how can she guess that she is in reality the daughter of a beggar 
woman, and is keeping the rightful heir out of his inheritance? How this extra- 
ordinary situation came about and the trouble and tangle it brought into the life of a 
sensitive and noble-natured girl, is narrated by E. H. Strain alter the fashion which 
has already endeared her to many readers. 

THE BLACK SHILLING. By AMELIA E. BARR. 

Critics who have read this novel in manuscript speak of it as the best story 
Mrs. Barr has yet written. Its central character Cotton Mather, preacher, 
scholar, philanthropist and persecutor is one of the most picturesque figures in 
American history, while the period that of the witchcraft scare at the opening of the 
eighteenth century, when numbers of men and women suffered cruel persecution tot 
their supposed trafficking with the Evil One is full of dramatic possibilities. 

THE VINEYARD. By JOHN OLIVER HOBBES. 

In this novel Mrs. Craieie turns from the glittering world of finance, which she 
depicted so brilliantly in ' Love and the Soul Hunters,' and gives us a story of life in 
an English provincial town. As in all her books the love interest Is strong, and under 
the 'signoria d'Amore' her characters are led into situations of the deepest interest, 
demanding for their treatment all the subtlety of insight which her previous works 
have shewn her to possess. 

THE MIS-RULE OF THREE. By FLORENCE WARDEN, Author of 
The House on the Marsh,' etc. 

This is the story of three young men, living together in London lodgings, of the 
ideals of womanhood which they have formed, and of the singular fashion in which 
each falls a victim to the charms of a woman in aH respects the opposite to his ideal. 
The story takes the reader from London to the most romantic region of the Channel 
Islands, and is connected with a mystery which surrounds the owner of one of these 
islands. 



T. FISHER UNWIN'S NEW NOVELS. 

THROUGH SORROW'S GATES. A Tale of the Wintry Heath. By 
HALLIWELL SUTCLIFFE, Author of ' Ricroft of Withens,' etc. 

The scene is laid in Halli well Sutdiffe's favourite country, the moors of the West 
Riding, though in the present book he goes even further into the heart of the heath, 
nearer to that simplicity of feeling and passion which is the real mark of the moor- 
folk. His characters spring from the moor, as it were, and grow out of it; and not 
least of these characters is Hester, the impulsive, erring farm lass, who dreamed 
wild dreams at Windy Farm, and saw herself supplanted by a little, well-born woman 
rescued from the snow. 

KITTY COSTELLO. By Mrs. ALEXANDER. 

This story the last that was written by Mrs. Alexander tells the experiences ot 

well-born, beautiful Irish girl suddenly plunged, somewhere about the ' forties," 
into commercial circles in a busy English port. The attraction af the book consists 
rather in the brightly-drawn contrast of the Irish and English temperaments, with their 
widely differing views of life, than in exciting incidents, though the reader can hardly 
fail to feel the fascination of the heroine or to be interested in all that befalls her. 

NYRIA. By Mr*. CAMPBELL PRAED. 

The author considers this the most important book she has yet written. Its 
preparation has engaged bar for a long time, and in it she gives her readers the very 
best of herself. The scene is laid in Rome in the first century A.D., and among Vhe 
characters are many historical figures. The period otters magnificent oppoi -g 

for the writer of romance, and of Mr*. Campbell Praed's imaginative gifts ana ,, 
of vivid description it is, of course, needless to speak at this time of day. The sto. . , 
which is a lengthy one, will be found to be full of dramatic situations and thrilling 
Incidents. 

COURT CARDS. By AUSTIN CLARE, Author of ' Th Carved Cartoon, 1 
' Pandora's Portion,' ' The Tideway,' etc. 

A romance dated in the closing years of the sixteenth century, and placed on 
both sides of the border. The time, a stirring one, when the old order changing had 
not yet wholly yielded place to the new. admits of romantic incidents of every kind, 
from raiding, kidnapping and goal-breaking, to mysterious love-making and midnight 
murder. The intrigues between the English and Scottish Court* form a plot 
sufficiently intricate, which is here likened to a game of whist, the court-cards chiefly 
used therein being Queen Elizabeth of England, lames VI of Scotland, and the cele- 
brated Archie Armstrong, called ' The Knave of Hearts,' who by a series of extra- 
ordinary adventures, rose from the condition of a wanderer and sheep ctealer on the 
border side to the position of chief jester and ruling favourite at the Scottish Court. 

THE KINGDOM OF TWILIGHT. By FORRMT REID. (First Novel 
Library). 

This is the history of the earlier half of the life of a man ot genius, following him 
through boyhood and youth to maturity. It is a book in which the form, the atmos- 
phere, count for much. Essentially the study of a temperament a temperament 
subtle, delicate, rare it has more in common, perhaps, with the work of D'Annunzio 
than that of any English novelist: the author's aim, at all events, having been to 
describe, from within, the gradual development of a human soul to trace the 
wanderings of a spirit as it passes from light to light in search of that great light 
1 that never was on sea or land.' 

A BACHELOR IN ARCADY. By HALLIWELL SUTCLIFFE, Author of 
' Ricroft of Withens,' ' Mistress Barbara Cunliffe,' etc. 

In this book Mr. Sutcliffe abandons his strenuous manner of adventure, feud, 

wordplay and fierce wooing, and gives us an English idyll. The bachelor is a man 
of some thirty odd years, who dwells in rural peace among his animals, birds, fields 
and flowers, and, assisted by his faithful henchman, sows his seeds, mows and 
prunes in complacent contempt for such as have succumbed to the delights of matri- 
mony. And so he fares thro gh spring and summer, seedtime and ha' vest, his chiel 
companions the squire across the fields and his young daughter, till as time goes on 
he discovers that the girl is all the world to him, and the curtain descends on the 
bachelor a bachelor no more. 



T. FISHER UNWIN, Publisher, 



PADDY'S WOMAN 



HUMPHREY JAMES 

Crown Svo., 6. 



" Traits of the Celt of humble circumstances are copied 
with keen appreciation and unsparing accuracy." Scotsman. 

" ....... They are full of indescribable charm and 

pathos." Bradford Observer. 

"The outstanding merit of this series of stories is that 
they are absolutely true to life .... the photographic 
accuracy and minuteness displayed are really marvellous." 

Aberdeen Free Press. 

" ' Paddy's Woman and Other Stories ' by Humphrey 
James ; a volume written in the familiar diction of the 
Ulster people themselves, with perfect realism and very 
remarkable ability. . . . For genuine human nature 
and human relations, and humour of an indescribable 
kind, we are unable to cite a rival to this volume." 

The World. 

" For a fine subtle piece of humour we are inclined to 
think that ' A Glass of Whisky ' takes a lot of beating . . 
In short Mr. Humphrey James has given us a delightful 
book, and one which does as much credit to his heart as to 
his head. We shall look forward with a keen anticipation 
to the next ' writings ' by this shrewd, ' cliver/ and com- 
passionate young author." Bookselling. 

11. Paternoster Buildings, London, E.d 

23 



T. FISHER UNWIN, Publisher, 



A FIRST FLEET FAMILY: 
BEING A HITHERTO 
UNPUBLISHED NARRA- 
TIVE OF CERTAIN RE- 
MARKABLE ADVEN- 
TURES COMPILED 
FROM THE PAPERS OF 
SERGEANT WILLIAM 
DEW, OF THE MARINES 

BY 

LOUIS BECKE and WALTER JEFFERY 
Second Edition. Crown 8vo., clolh, Ss. 



"As convincingly real and vivid as a narrative can 
be." Sketch. 

" No maker of plots could work out a better story of its 
kind, nor balance it more neatly." Daily Chronicle. 

" A book which describes a set of characters varied and 
so attractive as the more prominent figures in this romance, 
and a book so full of life, vicissitude, and peril, should be 
welcomed by every discreet novel reader." Yorkshire Post. 

" A very interesting tale, written in clear and vigorous 
English." Globe. 

"The novel is a happy blend of truth and fiction, with a 
purpose that will be appreciated by many readers ; it has 
also the most exciting elements of the tale of adventure." 

Morning Post. 

11, Paternoster Buildings, London, E.G. g 



T. FISHER UNWIN, Publisher, 



THE TALES OF JOHN 
OLIVER HOBBES 

With a Frontispiece Portrait of the Author 
Second Edition. Crown 8vo., doth, 6s. 



" The cleverness of them all is extraordinary." Guardian. 

" The volume proves how little and how great a thing it is to write a 
1 Pseudonym.' Four whole ' Pseudonyms "... are easily contained 
within its not extravagant limits, and these four little books have given 
John Oliver Hobbes a recognized position as a master of epigram and 
narrative comedy." St. James's Gazette. 

As her star kas been sudden in its rise so may it stay long with us ! 
Some day she may give us something better than these tingling, pulsing, 
mocking, epigrammatic morsels." Times. 

" There are several literary ladies, of recent origin, who have tried 
to come up to the society ideal ; but John Oliver Hobbes is by far the 
best writer of them all, by far the most capable artist in fiction. . . . 
She is clever enough for anything." Saturday Review. 



THE HERB MOON 



JOHN OLIVER HOBBES 

Third Edition, Crown 8vo., cloth, 6s. 



" The jaded reader who needs sauce for his literary appetite cannot 
do better than buy ' The Herb Moon.' " Literary World. 

" A book to hail with more than common pleasure. The epigram- 
matic quality, the power of rapid analysis and brilliant presentation 
are there, and added to these a less definable quality, only to be 
described as charm. . . . ' The Herb Moon ' is as clever as most of 
its predecessors, and far less artificial." Atkenceum. 

11, Paternoster Buildings, London, E.G. k 



T. FISHER UN-WIN, Publisher, 



THE STICKIT MINISTER 
AND SOME COMMON 

MEN S. R. CROCKETT 

Eleventh Edition. Crown Svo., cloth, 6s. 



" Here is one of the books which are at present coming singly and at long 
intervals, like early swallows, to herald, it is to be hoped, a larger flight. 
When the larger flight appears, the winter of our discontent will have passed, 
and we shall be able to boast that the short story can make a home east as 
well as west of the Atlantic. There is plenty of human nature of the Scottish 
variety, which is a very good variety in ' The Stickit Minister ' and its com- 
panion stories ; plenty of humour, too, of that dry, pawky kind which is a 
monopoly of ' Caledonia, stern and wild ' ; and, most plentiful of all, a quiet 
perception and reticent rendering of that underlying pathos of life which is to 
be discovered, not in Scotland alone, but everywhere that a man is found who 
can see with the heart and the imagination as well as the brain. Mr. Crockett 
has given us a book that is not merely good, it is what his countrymen would 
call ' by-ordinar' good,' which, being interpreted into a tongue understanded of 
the southern herd, means that it is excellent, with a somewhat exceptional kind 
of excellence." Daily Chronicle. 



THE LILAC SUN- 
BONNET 

Wi>i^i 



s R CROCKETT 



Sixth Edition. Crown Svo., cloth, 6s. 



" Mr. Crockett's ' Lilac Sun-Bonnet ' ' needs no bush." Here is a pretty love 
tale, and the landscape and rural descriptions carry the exile back into the 
Kingdom of Galloway. Here, indeed, is the scent of bog-myrtle and peat. 
After inquiries among the fair, I learn that of all romances, they best love, 
not 'sociology,' not 'theology,' still less, open manslaughter, for a motive, but 
just love's young dream, chapter after chapter. From Mr. Crockett they get 
what they want, ' hot with,' as Thackeray admits that he liked it. " 

Mr. ANDREW LANG in Longman's Magazine. 

11, Paternoster Buildings, London, E.G. i 



T. FISHER UNWIN, Publisher, 



THE RAIDERS 



BT 



S. R. CROCKETT 

Eighth Edition. Crown 8vo., cloth, 6a. 



"A thoroughly enjoyable novel, full of fresh, original, and 
accurate pictures of life long gone by." Daily News. 

" A strikingly realistic romance." Morning Post. 

" A stirring story. . . . Mr. Crockett's style is charming. My 
Baronite never knew how musical and picturesque is Scottish- 
English till he read this book." Punch. 

" The youngsters have their Stevenson, their Barrie, and now 
a third writer has entered the circle, S. R. Crockett, with a lively 
and jolly book of adventures, which the paterfamilias pretends 
to buy for his eldest son, but reads greedily himself and won't 
let go till he has turned over the last page. . . . Out of such 
historical elements and numberless local traditions the author 
has put together an exciting tale of adventures on land and sea." 

Frankfurter Zeitung. 



SOME SCOTCH NOTICES. 

" Galloway folk should be proud to rank 'The Raiders' among 
the classics of the district." Scotsman. 

"Mr. Crockett's 'The Raiders' is one of the great literaiy 
successes of the season." Dundee Advertiser. 

" Mr. Crockett has achieved the distinction of having produced 
the book of the season." Dumfries and Galloway Standard. 

"The story told in it is, as a story, nearly perfect" 

Aberdeen Daily Free Press. 

> " ' The Raiders ' is one of the most brilliant efforts of recent 
fiction." Kirkcudbrightshire Advertiser. % 

11, Paternoster Buildings, London, E.G. * 



T. FISHER UNWIN, Publisher, 



THE GREY MAN 



BY 



S. R. CROCKETT 

Crown 8w>., (loth, G. 

A iso, am Edition de Luxe, with 26 Drawings by 
SEYMOUR LUCAS, RA., limited to 250 copies, signed 
by Author. Crown 4/0., cloth gilt, 21 8. net. 



" It has nearly all the qualities which go to make a book 
of the first-class. Before you have read twenty pages you 
know that you are reading a classic." LiUrary World. 

"All of that vast and increasing host of readers who 
prefer the novel of action to any other form of fiction 
should, nay, indeed, must, make a point of reading this 
exceedingly fine example of its class." Daily Chronicle. 

" With such passages as these [referring to quotations], 
glowing with tender passion, or murky with horror, 
even the most insatiate lover of romance may feel that 
Mr. Crockett has given him good measure, well pressed 
down and running over." Daily Telegraph. 

11, Paternoster Building*, London, E.G. / 



T. FISHER UNWIN, Publisher, 



NANCY NOON 



BENJAMIN SWIFT 

Second Edition. Cloth, 6a, 



Some Reviews on the First Edition. 

" ' Nancy Noon ' is perhaps the strongest book of the year, certainly by fat 

the strongest book which has been published by any new writer Mr 

Swift contrives to keep his book from end to end real, passionate, even intense. 

... If Mr. Meredith had never written, one would have predicted, with the 
utmost confidence, a great future for Mr. Benjamin Swift, and even as it is I 
have hopes." Sketch. 

" Certainly a promising first effort." Whitehall Review. 

" If ' Nancy Noon ' be Mr. Swift's first book, it is a success of an uncommon 
kind." Dundee Advertiser. 

" ' Nancy Noon ' is one of the most remarkable novels of the year, and the 
author, avowedly a beginner, has succeeded in gaining a high position in the 
ranks of contemporary writers. .... All his characters are delightful. In the 
heat of sensational incidents or droll scenes we stumble on observations that 
set us reflecting, and but for an occasional roughness of style elliptical, 
Carlyle mannerisms the whole is admirably written." Westminster Gazette. 

" Mr. Swift has the creative touch and a spark of genius." Manchester 
Guardian. 

"Mr. Swift has held us interested from the first to the last page of his 
novel." World. 

" The writer of ' Nancy Noon ' has succeeded in presenting a powerfully 
written and thoroughly interesting story." Scotsman. 

" We are bound to admit that the story interested us all through, that it 
absorbed us towards the end, and that not until the last page had been read 
did we find it possible to lay the book down." Daily Chronicle. 

" It is a very strong book, very vividly coloured, very fascinating in its style, 
very compelling in its claim on the attention, and not at all likely to be soon 
forgotten." British Weekly. 

" A clever book. . . . The situations and ensuing complications are dra- 
matic, and are handled with originality and daring throughout" Daily News 

"Mr. Benjamin Swift has written a vastly entertiunicg book." Academy. 

11, Paternoster Building*- London, E.G. * 



T. FISHER UNWIW, Publisher, 



MR. MAGNUS 



BY 



F. REGINALD STATHAM 

Second Edition. Crown 8vo., cloth, 6s. 



Some Press Opinions on the First Edition. 

" One of the most powerful and vividly written novels of the 
day." Nottingham Guardian. 
" A grim, terrible, and convincing picture." New Age. 

1 Very impressive." Saturday Review. 

' Distinctly readable." Speaker. " A remarkable book." 

' Full of incident." Liverpool Mercury. [Standard. 

' One of the most important and timely books ever written." 

Newcastle Daily Mercury. 

' A vivid and stirring narrative." Globe. 

' An exceedingly clever and remarkable production." World. 

' A book to be read." Newsagent. 

' A terrible picture." Sheffield Independent. 

' One of the best stories lately published." Echo. 

' Worth reading." Guardian. " A sprightly book." Punch. 

' The story is very much brought up to date." Times. 

' Vivid and convincing." Daily Chronicle. 

1 The story is good and well told." Pall Mall Gazette. 

'Ought to be immensely popular." Reynolds' Weekly Newspaper. 

' A most readable story." Glasgow Herald. 

'A brilliant piece of work." Daily Telegraph. 

' The story should make its mark." Bookseller. 

' Admirably written." Sheffield Daily Telegraph. 

' The more widely it is read the better." Manchester Guardian. 

' Will find many appreciative readers." Aberdeen Free Press. 

' Exciting reading." Daily Mail. 

'Can be heartily recommended." Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper. 

' A well-written and capable story." People. 

' Well written." Literary World. 

11, Paternoster Buildings, London, E.G. o 



T. FISHER UlTWIlf, Publi*hr, 



THE EBBING OF THE 
TIDE 



n 

LOUIS BECKE 

Author of " By Reef and Palm 



Sored Edition. Crown 8v*, cloth, 6s. 



* Mr. Loui* Becke wields a pewerM pen, with the additional advantage 
that he waves it in unfrequented place*, and summons up with it the elemental 
passions of human nature. ... It will be seen that Mr. Becke is somewhat 
of the fleshly school, but with a pathos and power not given to the ordinary 
professors of that school . . . Altogether for those who like stirring stories 
cast in strange scenes, this is a book to be read," National Obttrvtr. 



PACIFIC TALES 



LOUIS BECKE 

With a Portrait of the Author 
Second Edition. Crown SUA, cloth, 



" The appearance of a new book by Mr. Becke has become an event of note 
and very justly. No living author, if we except Mr. Kipling, has so amazing 
a command of that unhackneyed vitality of phrase that most people call by 
the name of realism. Whether it is scenery or character or incident that he 
wishes to depict, the touch is ever so dramatic and vivid that the reader is 
conscious of a picture and impression that has no parallel save in the records 
of actual sight and memory." Westminster GautU. 

" Another series of sketches of island life in the South Seas, not inferior to 
those contained in ' By Reef and Palm.' " Speaker. 

" The book is well worth reading. The author knows what he is talking 
about and has a keen eye for the picturesque." G. B. BUROTN in To-day. 

"A notable contribution to the romance of the South Seas." 

T. P. O'CONNOR, M.P., H Tkt Graphic. 

U. Paternoster Building*, London, E.G. d 



T. FISHER UN WIN, Publisher, 



A FIRST FLEET FAMILY: 
BEING A HITHERTO 
UNPUBLISHED NARRA- 
TIVE OF CERTAIN RE- 
MARKABLE ADVEN- 
TURES COMPILED 
FROM THE PAPERS OF 
SERGEANT WILLIAM 
DEW, OF THE MARINES 

BY 

LOUIS BECKE and WALTER JEFFERY 

Second Edition. Crown 8w., doth. 6s. 



"As convincingly real and vivid as a narrative can 
be." Sketch. 

11 No maker of plots could work out a better story of its 
kind, nor balance it more neatly." Daily Chronicle. 

" A book which describes a set of characters varied and 
so attractive as the more prominent figures in this romance, 
and a book so full of life, vicissitude, and peril, should be 
welcomed by every discreet novel reader." Yorkshire Post. 

" A very interesting tale, written in clear and vigorous 
English." Globe. 

" The novel is a happy blend of truth and fiction, with a 
purpose that will be appreciated by many readers ; it has 
1so the most exciting elements of the tale of adventure." 

Morning Post 

11, faUrnocter Building*, London, E,G. g 



T. FISHER UNWIN, Publisher, 



THE ADVENTURE SERIES 

POPULAR RE-ISSUE. 

Each large crown %vo, fully Illustrated. Popular re-tssue, SB. 6d. 

per vol. ; in two styles of binding, vit., decorative cover, cut idgts ; and 

plain library style, untouched edges. 



1. ADVENTURES OF A YOUNGER SON. By EDWARD 

J. TRELAWNEY. Introduction by EDWARD GARNETT. 

2. MADAGASCAR ; or, Robert Drury's Journal during his 

Captivity on that Island. Preface and Notes by Captain 
S. P. OLIVER, R.A. 

3. MEMOIRS OF THE EXTRAORDINARY MILL 

TARY CAREER OF JOHN SHIPP. 

4. THE BUCCANEERS AND MAROONERS OF 

AMERICA. Edited and Illustrated by HOWARD PYLE. 

5. THE LOG OF A JACK TAR : Being the Life of James 

Choyce, Master Mariner. Edited by Commander V. LOVETT 
CAMERON. 

6. FERDINAND MENDEZ PINTO, THE PORTU- 

GUESE ADVENTURER. New Edition. Annotated 
by Prof. A. VAMBERY 

7. ADVENTURES OF A BLOCKADE RUNNER. By 

WILLIAM WATSON. Illustrated by ARTHUR BYNG, R.N. 

8. THE LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF JAMES 

BECKWOURTH, Mountaineer, Scout, Pioneer, and Chief 
of Crow Nation Indians. Edited by CHAS. G. LELAND. 

o. A PARTICULAR ACCOUNT OF THE EUROPEAN 
MILITARY ADVENTURERS OF HINDUSTAN. 
Compiled by HENRY COMPTON. 

10. THE MEMOIRS AND TRAVELS OF COUNT DE 

BENYOWSKY in Siberia, Kamdchatka, Japan, the Linkiu 
Islands, and Formosa. Edited by Captain S. P. OLIVER, R.A. 

11. A MASTER MARINER: The Life of Captain Robert W. 

Eastwick. Edited by HERBERT COMPTON. 

12. KOLOKOTRONES: KLEPHT AND WARRIOR. 

Translated from the Greek by Mrs. EDMONDS. Introduction 
by M. GENNADIUS. 

II, Paternoster Buildings, London, B.C. 



T. FISHER UNWIN, PuDliaher, 



BUILDERS OF GREATER 
BRITAIN 



H. F. WILSON 

Volumtt, lick MM Photogravure Fronttsfuu, 
and Map, lorgt troum 8tw., tbtk, <*. tact. 



The completion of the Sixtieth year of the Queen's reign will be the ocoesioc of much 
retrospect and review, in the course of which the great men who, under the auspices of Her 
Majesty and her predecessor*, have helped to make the British Empire what it is to-day, 
will naturally be brought to mind. Hence the idea of the present secies. Theae biographic*, 
ooncise bat rail, popular b*t authoritative, have been designed with the view of giving ia 
each case an adequate picture of the builder in relation to his work. 

The series will be under the general editorship of Mr. H. F. Wilson formerly Fellow 
of Trinity College, Cambridge, and now private secretary to the Right Hon. J. Chamberlain 
at the Colonial Office. Each volume will be placed in competent hands, and will contain 
the best portrait obtainable of its subject, and a map showing his special contribution to 
the Imperial edifice. The first to appear will be a Life of Sir Walter Ralegh, by Major 
Hume, the learned author of " The Year after the Armada." Others in contemplation will 
deal with the Cabots, the quarter-centenary of whose tailing from Bristol is has recently been 
oelebrated in that city, as well as in Canada and Newfoundland ; Sir Thomas Maitland, the 
" King Tom " of the Mediterranean ; Rajah Brooke, Sir Stamford Raffles, Lord Clive, 
Edward Gibbon Wakefield, Zachary Macaolay, Ao. Ac. 

The Series has taken for its mono the Mihonic prayer : 

** C$ou S$o of C9{ free grace fcforf ftiffb mp f?u grftfannfei 
mjnre fo a gforiom an& en3ta6f 9^f9< 
afiouf Jer, *fa iu in 



i. SIR WALTER RALEGH. By MARTIN A. S. HUME, Author 
of " The Courtships of Queen Elizabeth," &c. 

s. SIR THOMAS MAITLAND; the Mastery of the Mediterranean. 
By WALTER FREWBN LORD. 

3. JOHN CABOT AND HIS SONS: the Discovery of North 
America, By C. RAYMOND BEAZLKT, M.A. 

V EDWARD GIBBON WAKEFIELD J the Colonisation of South 
Australia and New Zealand. By R. GARNBTT, C.B., L.L.D. 

S- LORD CLIVE; the Foundation of British Rule hi India. By Sir 
A. J. ARBUTHNOT, K.C.S.I., C.I.E. 

RAJAH BROOKE; the Englishman as Ruler of an Eastern 

State. By Sir SPENSER ST. JOHN, G.C.M.G 
ADMIRAL PHILIP; the Founding of New South Wales. By 

Louis BECKE and WALTER JEFFERY. 

5IR STAMFORD RAFFLES ; England in the Far East. By 

the Editor. 

11, Paternoster Buildings, London, E.G. it 



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